Sasfin Bank, a niche lender that caters for small and medium-sized businesses, has been slapped with a civil summons from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) for a staggering R4.9bn plus interest and costs, in a novel lawsuit that tests the tax collection agency’s boundaries.

The claim, rejected as baseless by Sasfin, stems from Sars’ alleged inability to collect taxes and penalties from former foreign exchange clients of the bank who were involved in a criminal syndicate that colluded with some of the bank’s employees to expatriate money illegally...

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