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imageLONDON: South African bonds tumbled on Wednesday and debt insurance costs surged in the credit default swaps (CDS) market on news of a police probe into finance minister Pravin Gordhan who is popular with investors and business.

Gordhan has been ordered to report to police in relation to a surveillance unit in the state tax service, the South African Treasury said on Tuesday. This raises fears for the country's credit rating which is at risk of being downgraded to junk.

Gordhan and former officials at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) must report to the Hawks on Thursday morning where they will receive a 'warning statement' given to someone before they are charged with an offence, a source told Reuters .

Markit data showed five-year CDS rising 12 basis points from Tuesday's close to 242 bps, the highest in three weeks. The CDS rose 6 bps on Tuesday after the news broke.

Sovereign dollar bonds sold off across the curve with the 2025, 2041 and 2044 down between 1.5-2.0 cents in price.

Copyright Reuters, 2016