US law firm probes South Africa's Naspers after payments row

Lawrence Kim
December 6, 2017

On Monday Naspers Chief Executive Bob van Dijk told Reuters the company backed the decision of its unit, Multichoice, to look into whether there had been "corporate governance failures" after a group of investigative journalists raised questions about payments to ANN7.

In its public statement issued on Tuesday it said: "On December 1, 2017, Naspers reported that its wholly-owned television unit MultiChoice had initiated an investigation into whether improper payments were made to ANN7, a South African news channel owned by the politically-connected Gupta family".

South Africa's Naspers said on Tuesday it had not been informed of any legal action from any of its investors, after a US law firm said it had launched an investigation into the media and e-commerce giant.

Former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said MultiChoice used its agreement with the SABC to change government policy on conditional access and further its commercial interests.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, is active in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. The Guptas and Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

Shares in Naspers are down over 4% after a United States law firm announced it was launching an investigation into the conglomerate.

"According to local media, citing leaked emails, MultiChoice substantially increased its annual payment to ANN7 from R50m to R141m over the past two years".

MultiChoice, Africa's biggest pay-TV provider, started its own investigation as its reputation had been damaged by the allegations, it said 1 December. The company owns a wide range of media and internet assets around the world, including a 33% stake in Chinese giant Tencent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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