Mark Shuttleworth has lost his long-running fight to reverse a US$20m (£12.8m) bank charge levied after he transferred a fortune out of South Africa.
In 2001, Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux maker Canonical, emigrated from his home nation of South Africa to the Isle of Man. In 2008, he tried to withdraw R2.5bn (US$204m, £128m) from his account in the South African Reserve Bank. The bank, under orders from the SA finance minister, withheld 10 per cent of the transfer as an exit charge.
Shuttleworth was furious, and took the bank to a High Court in Pretoria to claim back his millions, basically calling the whole thing unconstitutional. The court said the exit charge was legit, but decided some of the currency exchange rules surrounding the fee were unlawful and unconstitutional. Shuttleworth took the matter higher to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which said the rules were valid, but the bank charge was not. The SA government and reserve bank also launched a cross-appeal. What a mess.
The Linux entrepreneur’s case finally ended up before the South Africa Constitutional Court, which on Thursday this week ruled [PDF] that the South African Reserve Bank was right all along to withhold the wedge.
Via The Register