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Guptas looking to move billions to UAE – report

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;text-decoration-style:initial;text-decoration-color:initial;word-spacing:0px”>The influential family has consulted with several top law firms to get advice on moving their cash to the Middle East.

The Guptas’ lawyer Gert van der Merwe has confirmed that the family approached law firms to get legal advice on transferring billions to the United Arab Emirates.

“I sat in on some meetings with ENSAfrica and Hogan Lovells. The advice, for example, was on possible commercial transactions. I’m involved in litigation and don’t handle commercial matters,” he told Sunday Times.

The Guptas reportedly want to benefit from a joint low taxation treaty entered into by SA and the UAE in ensuring that they are not heavily penalised in shifting their billions.

The treaty, which was signed in December 2015, became effective in March this year and  it allows SARS to claim a one-off 18% exit tax on South Africans’ local assets and income when they leave the country with SARS losing all taxing rights thereafter, reports the weekly.

Tax benefits apply to anyone who has attained a three-year residency in the UAE, as Duduzane Zuma did in 2015. The Guptas bought Duduzane an R18 million apartment at the popular and exclusive Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.

A government tax specialist said the treaty was unusual.

“Even if such a person is also tax resident in South Africa, the treaty’s tie-breaker test deems the person to be a Dubai resident if their ‘centre of vital interests’ [such as homes or families] is in Dubai. South Africa is then prevented by the treaty from taxing such a person on a global basis,” the specialist said. “On the face of it, it looks normal but, coupled with Dubai laws, it gives unusual benefits.”

 Source: http://citizen.co.za/category/news/

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