Washington sanctions Gupta brothers, close to former South African president Zuma

The siblings of Indian origin are involved in many corruption cases to the top of the South African state revealed in 2017 and 2018.

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Atul Gupta in 2010, one of three brothers of the family of Indian origin involved in many corruption cases under the two mandates of South African President Jacob Zuma. AP

The United States announced on Thursday (October 10th) that it had blacklisted three members of a powerful, sulphurous sibling of businessmen, the Gupta, at the heart of several corruption scandals in South Africa. caused the fall of South African President Jacob Zuma in 2018.

Ajay brothers, Atul and Rajesh Gupta accused of being hired "In a widespread practice of bribery and bribes to obtain government contracts" in South Africa and to have "Stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illicit schemes with the government" of Pretoria, the US Treasury announced in a statement.

Read also In South Africa, the fall of the Gupta empire

The Gupta family, until recently the head of a powerful industrial and media empire in South Africa, "Worn" of his "Influence on important parties and politicians to fill the pockets of ill-gotten gains"said Undersecretary of the Treasury in charge of sanctions, Sigal Mandelker.

These sanctions against the Gupta brothers freeze their potential holdings on US territory and prohibit any US entity to do business with them.

Pillage of public resources

The Gupta, of Indian origin, emigrated to South Africa in the 1990s and "Have prospered their business through generous donations to a major political party and their relationship with former President Jacob Zuma", said the US administration.

The Gupta scandals largely contributed to the resignation in February 2018 of President Zuma, forced to leave power after being released by his party, the African National Congress (ANC) of the late Nelson Mandela.

At the end of 2017, a highly compromising South African official report for Jacob Zuma detailed how the Gupta had plundered public resources, with the complicity of the then South African president, and were involved in the management of the country's affairs. State, including the appointment of ministers.

Read also In South Africa, the big unpacking of corruption during the Zuma era continues

For example, a candidate for the post of finance minister had been promised millions of dollars on condition that he revoked some members of the South African government who blocked the interests of the Gupta family, the Treasury said Thursday. The Gupta have also "Been overpaid for government contracts and paid a commission to a political party"according to the same source, who does not quote the training in question.

Driven by scandals but under no official prosecution in South Africa, the Gupta brothers have since left the country. According to the local press, they could be in Dubai.

Pretoria officially welcomed Thursday the decision of the United States. "It is essential that our young democracy diligently tackle corruption", responded South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, who rejoiced "US government's collaborative efforts in the fight against corruption" in South Africa. "The interest of justice must not be handcuffed by borders and justice must be rendered without fear", he added, while Jacob Zuma's successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, made the fight against corruption one of his priorities.

Abandonment of prosecution

In a very brief reaction Thursday night, Gupta lawyer Rudi Krause said "To be aware of the decision of the United States". "A communiqué on the subject will be published when the time comes"he simply added to Agence France-Presse.

Jacob Zuma, in power from 2009 to 2018, acknowledged 'Friend' with the Gupta, but has always denied any link "Illegal" with this family of businessmen. He will soon be heard again by an anti-corruption commission in South Africa, supposed to shed light on the multiple accusations that taint his two mandates.

Read also South Africa: "The Zuma years are a lost decade"

The former president is also being prosecuted for corruption in an old arms sales business that dates back 20 years. Friday, the South African justice will decide, in this case, on the possible abandonment of the prosecution. If Jacob Zuma does not obtain satisfaction, his trial will begin Tuesday in Pietermaritzburg, capital of the province of Kwazulu-Natal.


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