Investigative magazine Noseweek said it planned to publish
details of about 100 South African multimillionaires it claims were
involved in a tax evasion scheme devised by FirstRand, write Chantelle Benjamin and Chris van Gass in Business Day.

This was after the Cape High Court yesterday dismissed with costs the banking group’s bid to stop the magazine from publishing the names.

Noseweek editor Martin Welz, who represented himself in court, said Noseweek would not publish the names in its October edition, as planned, to allow for further investigation, but would definitely do so in later issues.

He said Noseweek was already making enquiries abroad about the names and had elicited help in its investigation in the Jersey Islands, a popular tax haven.

Welz said SA millionaires had been “solicited” by FirstRand to “participate in illegal schemes”.

FirstRand, in a statement released after the judgment, continued to defend its actions, saying the bank and individual customers had received “positive legal opinions” on the scheme’s (Duisberg) structure”.

“Loop structures were offered by numerous financial institutions in SA,” the bank said.

All this came to an end in 2003, when the Reserve Bank issued an exchange control circular setting out how these structures should be dealt with.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Buinsess Day's website.