Bank of Baroda South Africa CEO Agarwal Has Died, Regulator Says

Sanjay Agarwal, the chief executive officer of Bank of Baroda’s South African unit, has died.

Bank of Baroda provides banking services to companies controlled by the Gupta family, who are in business with President Jacob Zuma’s son. South Africa’s four largest banks last year canceled accounts belonging to the companies, saying in separate court documents that they terminated their relationships with the Guptas because continuing to do business with them risked hurting their reputations.

“The South African Reserve Bank is aware of the passing away of Bank of Baroda CEO, Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, and conveys our sympathies to his family and the staff of the bank,” the Pretoria-based regulator said in an e-mailed response to questions on Thursday. It didn’t give further details. A person who answered the phone at Bank of Baroda’s Johannesburg offices declined to comment, referring queries to the corporate offices in Mumbai, where calls to two separate numbers weren’t answered.

The Gupta family have been accused of using their friendship with the president to influence cabinet appointments. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing. After having their accounts canceled, the Guptas asked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to intervene, spurring Gordhan to seek a court order in October stating that he can’t prevent banks from cutting clients. The lenders, including Standard Bank Group Ltd., Barclays Africa Group Ltd., Nedbank Group Ltd. and FirstRand Ltd., have said they need to adhere to international banking rules on anti-money laundering, bribery and corruption when dealing with customers.

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