Businessman Dave King outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court in 2011. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Businessman Dave King outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court in 2011. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

THE long-running battle between the state and businessman Dave King came to a close on Thursday when King reached a plea and sentence agreement with the state.

In terms of the agreement at the South Gauteng High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, King pleaded guilty to 41 counts of contravening the Income Tax Act and agreed to pay a fine of R80,000 per count, or R3.28m.

The counts related to his wrongful failure to make certain required disclosures in his annual income tax returns to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for more than 10 years, and for failure to submit tax returns for his companies Metlika and Ben Nevis.

Other facts relevant to the agreed sentence were that the South African Revenue Service had instituted various actions against King and would recover R706.7m. King also agreed to pay the Criminal Assets Recovery Account R8.75m within 30 days.

The other counts were withdrawn.

King was originally indicted on 322 counts including fraud, tax evasion and evasion of exchange control regulations, as well as money-laundering and racketeering.

The counts related, among others, to a failure to submit tax returns, fraudulent misrepresentations in his tax returns, and devising and implementing an allegedly fraudulent scheme to "externalise" his assets to evade income tax and obligations involving R1bn.

Explaining why the state had reached the agreement, prosecutor Arno Rossouw said it had considered the length of the trial that would ensue if King had pleaded not guilty.

Mr Rossouw said some of the witnesses had passed away and the prosecution would have needed testimony from expert witnesses, some of whom were overseas.

He said King assets had been restrained for more than seven years.

The court found King guilty and sentenced him to pay the fine of R3.28m on Friday.