December 21, 2017 / 6:43 PM / 10 months ago

Canada cancels loan to South Africa's Gupta family for Bombardier jet purchase

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Canada’s trade financing agency Export Development Canada (EDC) said on Thursday it has scrapped a deal to help finance the sale of a Bombardier Inc jet to the wealthy Gupta family in South Africa.

The Guptas failed to meet loan repayment obligations in recent weeks and, with the EDC assessing a “political exposure” risk, it terminated the loan which allowed Canada’s Bombardier to sell a Global 6000 jet to them, the Globe and Mail had reported earlier.

Under a December 2014 agreement, the Canadian government’s export agency was financing 80 percent of the C$52 million ($41 million) cost of the aircraft, according to the Globe and Mail.

“I can confirm that the contract has been terminated,” Shelley Maclean, a spokeswoman for Export Development Canada said in an email when asked about the Globe and Mail’s story.

Bombardier said EDC was an an important partner. “We support them in exercising their policies as they see fit,” it said in an emailed statement.

The Gupta family could not immediately be reached for comment.

South African President Jacob Zuma has faced allegations that his friends, the businessmen and brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, have wielded undue influence over his government including influencing appointment of ministers.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied the accusations.

Last week, South Africa’s High Court ruled that Zuma must set up a judicial inquiry into state influence-peddling, the latest in a series of judicial blows to his scandal-tinged administration. ($1 = 1.2835 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Kanishka Singh, additional reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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