South Africa submitted a request for extradition from the United Arab Emirates of the Gupta brothers, who are wanted for allegedly masterminding the looting of billions of dollars from state entities on Monday.
“A request was received from the National Director of Public Prosecutions for the extradition of the Gupta brothers from the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of South Africa to stand trial on charges of fraud, money laundering,” Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told reporters on Monday in Pretoria, the capital. “We can confirm that the extradition request has been duly submitted to the UAE central authority.”
Rajesh and Atul Gupta were arrested in the United Arab Emirates in early June. They’re wanted on charges of money laundering and fraud, and were detained after the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, placed them on its most-wanted list in February. The deadline for submitting the formal application for extradition was August 2, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi said at Monday’s briefing.
A judicial inquiry into state graft spanning more than three years detailed close links between the brothers and former President Jacob Zuma. Witnesses allege they worked together to siphon money from South Africa’s state transport, power and arms companies, and jointly decided who was appointed to the cabinet. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.
Submitting the extradition request is an “important milestone in the National Prosecuting Authority’s commitment to hold to account the perpetrators of state capture and to uphold the rule of law,” Batohi said. The NPA will continue to cooperate with and support its counterparts in the UAE to ensure the Gupta brothers face justice in South Africa, although the process could take several months, she said.