The application by a Gupta-linked company to enter the banking sector by buying Habib Overseas Bank is off the table, as far as SA’s banking regulator is concerned, because the offer to sell expired at the end of March. This comes after Vardospan, a company controlled by the Guptas’ associate Salim Essa, failed in its court bid to force the Reserve Bank and the Treasury to make a decision on its application to buy Habib Bank in a R450m deal. The court found that the banking regulator, which has to approve any application to buy control of a bank, was not obliged to make a decision before the offer expired on March 31. Registrar of banks and Reserve Bank deputy governor Kuben Naidoo said on Friday that subsequent to March 31 he had written to the company to ask whether there was still an application for the Bank to consider. "We’ve not heard back from them so we are assuming we’ve got nothing to consider because there is no offer to sell." It emerged during the case that Vardospan ha...

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