South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the rumors and accusations that he was involved with espionage are false and “malicious.”
“I cannot believe that I am being investigated and could possibly be charged for something I am completely innocent of,” Gordhan said in e-mailed statement on Tuesday. “I have answered the questions submitted by the Hawks, and have not heard from them. I was not aware of any impending charges or further investigations until the reports in the past weekend.”
The Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify, that Gordhan, 67, is at risk of being charged with espionage, and fired, after the Hawks police unit completed its investigation of his alleged involvement in a special investigations agency within the national revenue service. The speculation drove the rand to a two-month low on Monday, despite a denial by the presidency.
Gordhan, who was head of the revenue service until 2009, said he has met with his lawyers, who will seek further information and clarity from the police and prosecutors.
“It is indeed true, that no one is above the law,” he said. “But no one should be subjected to the manipulation of the law and agencies for ulterior motives.”