Export Development Canada has now said it was a mistake to lend $41 million to a couple of notorious brothers at the centre of a major South African corruption scandal to buy a new Bombardier Global 6000. The “Gupta Brothers” a group of siblings and cousins who are business partners with recently resigned former president Jacob Zuma allegedly used the $52 million airplane (EDC only funded 80 percent of the purchase) as a getaway vehicle as criminal investigations concerning the lucrative contracts they won from the Zuma government got closer to them. For several months EDC didn’t know where the airplane was, even though the loan had been cancelled. A court battle ensued and EDC finally regained possession of the aircraft earlier this year and sold it.
EDC said in a statement that if it had known the mess it was getting into with the Guptas, it never would have lent them the money and that it’s since tightened its compliance standards. Critics said there was plenty of evidence available on alleged corruption involving the Guptas while the deal was being negotiated in 2014 and EDC should not have approved the loan. Bombardier has also said it’s going to be more careful about who can buy its airplanes.