Sources at McKinsey confirmed the documents’ authenticity. Asked about the documents, a McKinsey spokesman did not deny they were genuine.
McKinsey said in its email to Reuters that Eskom knew Trillian would not be McKinsey’s partner and added: “Any questions about why Trillian remained at Eskom (after March 2016) and what they did, should be directed to Eskom.
The disclosures are likely to form part of an investigation launched by South Africa’s parliamentary committee on public enterprises into whether McKinsey knowingly let funds from Eskom be diverted to a Gupta-linked company as a way of securing the deal, a source close to the committee said.
Trillian was owned at the time by Salim Essa, a business partner of the Guptas and of the president’s son, Duduzane Zuma.
McKinsey’s global risk committee, a vetting body, gave the partnership with Trillian initial approval, pending due diligence, but senior managers in Johannesburg did not inform the committee fully about how Trillian hid its ownership and why costs for Eskom were unusually high, three former partners said.
In the end, McKinsey launched a full internal investigation into its handling of the partnership with Trillian in July this year, after local media published a letter from a senior McKinsey manager dated Feb. 16, 2016 asking Eskom to pay Trillian as a McKinsey subcontractor.
McKinsey said the letter “inaccurately characterised” the relationship with Trillian. The manager has since left the firm.
McKinsey said on Oct. 17 the preliminary findings of the inquiry, approved by global head Dominic Barton, found “violations of our professional standards” but did not uncover any corruption.
In its email on Thursday, McKinsey did not comment directly on the timing of its internal inquiry, directing Reuters instead to its Oct. 17 statement.