The Bank of China has become the latest financial institution to be drawn into the controversy surrounding the closure of bank accounts belonging to companies linked to the Gupta family. Steel maker VR Laser said in papers filed in the North Gauteng High Court in January that the Bank of China demanded that it ditch the Guptas as shareholders shortly before closing its accounts just three weeks after they were opened because of perceived political risk. The bank is the third-largest in China and is 64% owned by the Chinese government’s sovereign wealth fund. VR Laser, which supplies steel products to arms maker Denel, approached the Bank of China after Nedbank and Standard Bank closed its accounts last year citing reputational risk. In letters to VR Laser, Nedbank said it could no longer do business with the firm because its Gupta shareholding posed "significant reputational risk". The letters were handed to VR Laser CEO Pieter van der Merwe by a Nedbank official who visited his fac...

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