n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - The use of stolen funds to discharge a debt and enrichment : : case note

Volume 25, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



The decision in 2012 (6) SA 569 (SCA) () deals with the contentious situation of whether a bank may appropriate stolen funds received from its client to discharge the debts of the client towards the bank. Generally, the true owner of property that has been stolen or misappropriated by way of fraud may recover it from a recipient other than the fraudster with the rei vindicatio or an enrichment action where ownership has passed. But in the Supreme Court of Appeal found that a bank is not unjustifiably enriched when in good faith it retains money to discharge the debts of its client towards it, even though the client obtained the funds through fraud or theft. This note analyses some of the implications of this decision for the law of unjustified enrichment and the extinguishing of obligations.

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