Eric Wood. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Eric Wood. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Sars was tight-lipped on Wednesday about a report saying that it has attached the assets of Trillian Capital Partners and its sole director Eric Wood, who are allegedly implicated in state capture.

Word of the attachment emerged during a liquidation application heard in the Gauteng high court in Pretoria on Wednesday, which was brought by Eskom against Trillian and Wood. According to a report by Fin24, it emerged during the hearing that Sars had appointed a curator to attach Trillian’s and Wood’s assets.

Trillian was linked to state-capture allegations due to its relationship with Gupta associate Salim Essa, who worked for the firm.

Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela said he could not confirm or deny the report, saying that Sars is bound by the confidentiality requirements of the Tax Administration Act, which prohibits the disclosure by the tax authority of information about taxpayers.

According to the Fin24 report, Eskom applied for a liquidation order against Wood and Trillian in January, and a contempt of court order against Wood, for failing to pay back R595m owed to Eskom by the consulting firm.

Trillian was allegedly appointed as a sub-contractor by global consulting firm McKinsey as part of the latter’s development of a turnaround strategy for Eskom. Allegations later emerged that Trillian did not have a valid contract with McKinsey and that Eskom had been overcharged.

McKinsey has denied that Trillian was ever appointed as its subcontractor, and that it authorised any payments to the Gupta-linked company.

Advocate Geoff Budlender led a probe into the deal. His final report says McKinsey stopped its co-operation with his inquiry when confronted with evidence that it had provided allegedly false statements about its relationship with Trillian.

McKinsey paid back R1bn it received from Eskom, but Trillian did not. Eskom obtained an order in October last year compelling Trillian and Wood to pay back R595m.

However, Eskom approached the court again on January 17, seeking to have Trillian and Wood liquidated. It also wants Wood fined R1m or sentenced to 30 days in prison for failing to comply with the order. He is the sole remaining director of Trillian.

Correction February 10 2019
This story has been corrected to reflect that McKinsey has denied the subcontractor relationship with Trillian. Information from a probe into the deal has also been added to the story

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