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Gupta brothers arrested

SA confirms arrests made by UAE authorities.
The United Arab Emirates is weighing extraditing two members of the Gupta family who are wanted in South Africa, where they stand accused of looting billions of dollars from the state.
Rajesh and Atul Gupta were detained by UAE law-enforcement authorities and discussions are taking place on the way forward, South Africa’s Justice Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Since the alleged crime was in South Africa, authorities in the Gulf country are weighing extraditing the brothers, according to people familiar with the matter. No decision has been made yet, they said, declining to be identified because they weren’t authorised to talk to the media.
A judicial inquiry into state graft spanning more than three years detailed close links between the brothers and former President Jacob Zuma, with numerous witnesses alleging that they worked hand-in-hand to siphon money out of state transport, power and arms companies and jointly decided who was appointed to the cabinet. The government has said at least R500 billion was stolen during Zuma’s nine-year rule.The Gupta brothers and Zuma have always denied the allegations.

The arrests come a year after the UAE ratified an extradition treaty with South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration first asked the Emirati authorities to extradite members of the Gupta family in 2018, and the US imposed restrictions ranging from visa bans to asset freezes on them the following year. The UK followed suit last year and Interpol placed the two brothers on its most-wanted list in February.

The UAE is under pressure to do more about tracking the money that enters the country. The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based organization set up by the G7 countries to combat money laundering, on March 4 put the UAE on its “gray list” of jurisdictions that don’t do enough to uncover illicit funds.

Corruption scandals involving the Guptas and people linked to them are blamed for damaging indebted state power utility Eskom and rail and ports company Transnet. McKinsey & Co. has paid back money to both companies after working on contracts with Gupta-linked companies. The US-based consultancy has denied intentional wrongdoing.

Years of scrutiny

It was in 2013 that the Guptas first came under scrutiny when it was found that the family had been allowed to use a secure military base to land a plane ferrying wedding guests, with a police escort, to a lavish event at Sun City, the casino resort about two hours west of Johannesburg.

In December 2015, the Guptas were accused of playing a part in Zuma sacking then-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, and replacing him with little-known lawmaker Des Van Rooyen, a move that caused the rand to crash.

Van Rooyen was removed four days later and replaced by Pravin Gordhan, who had formerly served in the post, after an outcry from business, the public and members of the ruling African National Congress.

By 2016, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was asked to probe the dealings between Zuma, the Gupta family and state-owned entities. Her 355-page report, called ‘State of Capture’, was damning. With Zuma still clinging to power, a vast trove of emails and documents between the Guptas and their associates was leaked in 2017. By early 2018, the Guptas had fled South Africa.

South African authorities filed charges against the Guptas later in 2018 in connection with a questionable tender to undertake a feasibility survey on a dairy project in the central Free State province, in which a company they controlled was paid R21 million. That case has not yet come to a conclusion.

Long game
Ramaphosa won’t comment on the arrests, his spokesman Vincent Magwenya said by text message.

“We’ve always said that fighting corruption in SA requires resilience, that if the rule of law is allowed to take its course, those implicated will eventually get their day in court,” said Stefanie Fick, executive head of accountability for the non-profit Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse. “It seems like that day is around the corner for the Gupta kingpins.”

© 2022 Bloomberg


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Sadly the enablers are roaming free

With corruption, there is always the corruptor and the corruptee. The ANC corruptees are still roaming free.

Sanctions on Dubai / UAE for harboring criminals and fugitives.

Long queues forming at the toilets in Luthuli House …urgent orders for more two-ply toilet rolls … 🙂

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