Former Glencore CEO Clinton Ephron has confirmed that former Minerals Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was in Zurich, Switzerland, to negotiate for a R2.5 billion sale of Optimum to the Guptas. However, Zwane had denied this in Parliament.
Ephron was wrapping up his testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg. He also says that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe blocked an important
Coal Supply Agreement deal between Eskom and Glencore Optimum mine.
Tony Gupta is reported to have met with Ephron in Switzerland the next day to negotiate a deal for Optimum mine despite Glencore having taken it off business rescue.
“At about the same time as the Eskom meeting a meeting between Mr Glezenburg took place at the Doldur hotel in Zurich and the meeting was attended by Mr Salim Essa. When he asked who the minister was, he was told that he was an adviser to Minister Zwane. I understand that Mr Glezenburg asked Mr Zwane about the section 54 notices and Zwane did not engage with him on that issue and that he wished to have the meeting to discuss Optimum. Minister Zwane responded by saying that he was sure Glencore could reach a deal with the Gupta family.”
Ephron says Zwane told him and other Glencore employees that were present in the second meeting that Optimum mine should remain open as it was important in creating jobs.
“He expressed that the mine should not enter liquidation and stated that the best outcome would be for Glencore and Oakbay to reach a deal. Mr Zwane then left the meeting following which Mr T Gupta and Glezenburg discussed the third Oakbay offer. After a negotiation of the terms of a potential transaction, a purchase price of R2.15 billion was agreed which was double the amount of the third Oakbay offer which would have been the same price with the same financial implications to either keep it or sell it.”
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