Gupta family members arrested in UAE over South Africa corruption scandal | World News


Dubai police have arrested two brothers from the Gupta family wanted in connection with a corruption case involving former South African president Jacob Zuma.

Atul and Rajesh Gupta were held “in connection with money laundering and criminal charges in South Africa”, a statement said.

The two, as well as their brother Ajay, had been suspected of hiding out in Dubai since fleeing South Africa around the same time Mr Zuma resigned in 2018 amid allegations he had overseen massive levels of corruption at state-owned companies.

They are accused of using their connections with Mr Zuma, who ruled between 2009 and 2018, to win contracts, misappropriate state assets, influence cabinet appointments and siphon state funds.

Both Mr Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

The police, which did not immediately acknowledge Ajay Gupta’s whereabouts, said: “The arrest reflects the continuous efforts of the UAE in combating money laundering crimes through local co-operation among the competent authorities.”

Late on Monday, authorities in South Africa said the two brothers had been arrested after talks with Dubai officials.

However, Emirati authorities did not acknowledge the arrests until Tuesday.

It comes after the UAE and South Africa ratified an extradition treaty in April 2021, but it is not clear if the arrests would mean the brothers would return to South Africa.

The treaty was pushed by current President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, who hoped it would lead to the return of the Guptas to face the allegations.

The Democratic Alliance Party in South Africa welcomed the arrests, adding: “We hope that this is indeed the beginning of arrests and prosecution of those who have – locally and abroad – looted our country for years and are directly responsible for the hardships that millions of South Africans face today.”

The relationship between the Gupta family and South Africa’s former president were made public in 2015 when former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas alleged he had been offered bribes to take a cabinet role.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma
Former South African president Jacob Zuma was ousted by the African National Congress in 2019

The scandal accelerated Mr Zuma’s downfall in 2018 when the African National Congress replaced him with Mr Ramaphosa, who pledged to tackle corruption.

Mr Zuma has always denied wrongdoing and he was briefly jailed in 2021 for contempt of court.

In 2019, the US Treasury Department placed Rajesh, Atul and their brother Ajay on a sanctions list, accusing them of being “members of a significant corruption network”.


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