S.Africa grants bail to 7 in flagrant bank fraud case

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JOHANNESBURG

A court in South Africa Thursday granted bail to seven men accused of siphoning 2.3 billion rand ($133.87 million) from the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank.

The men, who were arrested on Wednesday, appeared before the Special Commercial Crimes court on Thursday. Their hearing was broadcast on national television with their legal representatives saying they plan to plead not guilty.

Among people facing accusations were the bank’s former CEO and former chairman.

Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi ordered the suspects to pay 100,000 rand each (some $5,700) as bail.

The men face several charges including racketeering, corruption, theft, and fraud.

In 2018, seven municipal mayors in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province were fired after they deposited millions of rands into the small VBS Mutual Bank against the financial regulations of local government.

The bank was later closed after it lost funds due to corruption.

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