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Ramaphosa from South Africa responds to the party as the party supports it over the “Farmgate” scandal via Reuters

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© Reuters. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa leaves a meeting of the National Working Committee of the African National Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 4, 2022. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

By Cubano Gombe

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s ruling party said it will tell its lawmakers to reject a report that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have committed misconduct over a stockpile of cash on his farm, giving it a lifeline as he grapples with the biggest scandal of his career.

Around the same time, Ramaphosa asked the country’s supreme court to dismiss the independent commission’s findings on the Farmgate case, which critics said should force him to resign.

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“The president continues his duties as head of the ANC and the Republic,” said Paul Machattel, general treasurer of the ruling African National Congress.

A commission of inquiry appointed by the Speaker of Parliament considered accusations that the thieves found large sums of money stuffed with furniture at Ramaphosa’s private game farm in 2020, and that he failed to report it when they stole the money.

The theft has raised questions about how Ramaphosa, who came to power promising to fight graft, obtained the money and whether he made it public.

Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged. The chief said the money was far less than the reported $4 to $8 million, and that it was from proceeds from game sales at the ranch.

The commission’s report, released on Wednesday, left him fighting for his political survival and raised questions about whether he would be able to lead the ANC into elections and secure a second term.

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A copy of court papers filed by Ramaphosa’s lawyers in the Constitutional Court showed that Ramaphosa wanted to “review the committee’s report and declare it illegal and annul it.”

Newspapers showed that Ramaphosa also wanted any steps taken by the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, on the committee’s report to be declared illegal and invalid.

The National Assembly is due to debate the report on Tuesday.

“I acknowledge that the commission misunderstood its mandate, misjudged the information before it and misinterpreted the four counts against me,” Ramaphosa said in his statement to the Constitutional Court.

Were we savages? number’

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The ANC’s Machatel said the decision of the party’s National Executive Committee to support Ramaphosa was not unanimous.

“Were we unanimous? No, there was a lot of discussion, but we had to end up somewhere, and my take is what we ended up with. And that we are not going to support this report,” Machatel told reporters.

He said that the decision was taken in the best interest of the country and to achieve stability, without going into further details.

ANC lawmakers, who hold the largest number of seats in parliament, are now expected to vote against the report when it comes up for debate on Tuesday.

South Africa’s main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Alliance, said it had tabled a motion to dissolve the National Assembly and reiterated its call for early elections.

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“Ramaphosa will live,” said Jackie Celliers, a professor of political science at the Institute for Security Studies.

“I think Ramaphosa is now convinced that he needs to keep fighting because if Ramaphosa is to back down, the damage to the ANC in the 2024 elections will be significant.”

Investors fear the uncertainty and that another president could slow or reverse economic reforms, increase government spending and take on more debt at levels they deem unsustainable.

“The conundrum for the ANC is that recent polls of its supporters show President Ramaphosa remains the strongest draw in the national election,” JPMorgan analysts said in a note to clients.

Ramaphosa is due to deliver the keynote address at the opening session of the World Science Forum in Cape Town on Tuesday, his first public appearance as chair since the report was released.

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MicroStrategy is at its lowest level since 2020 after the sales were revealed

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(Bloomberg) — Shares of MicroStrategy touched their lowest level since August 2020 after the enterprise software company, which in recent years has been known as the largest buyer of bitcoin, revealed its first sale of the token.

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The stock fell 1.1 percent to $136.63 on Thursday, down 75 percent this year. Bitcoin rose less than 1% to around $16,590 and is believed to have fallen 64% since the start of the year.

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In a filing on Wednesday, MicroStrategy said it acquired approximately 2,395 Bitcoin between the beginning of November and December 21 through its subsidiary MacroStrategy, and paid out approximately $42.8 million in cash. It then sold 704 of the tokens on Dec. 22 for a total of about $11.8 million, citing tax purposes, before buying another 810 of them two days later.

Matt Malley, chief market strategist for Miller Tabak + Co. Step down as CEO. This news means they don’t seem to want to do that anytime soon.”

Overall, MicroStrategy held about 132,500 bitcoins worth over $4 billion USD as of December 27th. The company paid an average purchase price of $30,397 per bitcoin.

“Given MicroStrategy’s $2.4 billion in leverage, we believe the company may have a lot of leverage over Bitcoin, and may face some liquidity risk,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thiel wrote in a note on Wednesday. Thill has an “underperform” rating on the stock and a price target of $110.

Over the years of the pandemic, MicroStrategy has become well known for its Bitcoin takeovers, largely led by Saylor. Earlier this year, Saylor stepped down from that role and now serves as CEO at the company and continues to lead its bitcoin strategy.

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MicroStrategy was trading around $120 before Saylor first announced the company’s Bitcoin purchases in 2020. The stock reached an all-time high of $1,315 in February 2021.

(Updates to include the stock’s closing price in the second paragraph.)

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Bankman-Fried May File Petition in New York Federal Court Next Week Before Judge Louis Kaplan By Cointelegraph

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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is set to appear in court on the afternoon of January 3 to enter a lawsuit over two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to Reuters. mentioned on December 28, citing court records. Bankman-Fried will appear before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

Judge Kaplan was appointed to hear the case on December 27 after the original judge in the case, Ronnie Abrams, Resigned herself because of connections between FTX and the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her husband is a partner. The company provided advisory services to FTX in 2021.