America has blacklisted one of the wealthiest families in South Africa over allegations of corruption.
The India-born Gupta family had a closed relationship with the former president of the Rainbow Nation Jacob Zuma and believed to have had influence over ministerial appointments.
According to the US Treasury, the controversial Gupta family operated “significant corruption network” in South Africa hence the need to sanction three key members – Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta and their business associate Salim Essa.
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“The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets,” the BBC quoted Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“The Guptas and Essa have used their influence with prominent politicians and parties to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains,” the US Treasury statement added.
The statement did not spell out the sanctions against the four, but added that the Treasury would “continue to exclude from the U.S. financial system those who profit from corruption”.
South Africa’s government has welcomed the decision of the US Treasury.
“The interest of justice must not be shackled by any boundary or border and justice must be seen to be done without fear or favour,” the BBC quoted a statement by the Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Ramola.
Over the years, the Gupta family has denied any wrongdoing in its dealings with the South African government. According to the Financial Times, the family left South Africa for the United Arab Emirates last year.
The Gupta family first landed in the gold-rich country in 1993 from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur. Their line of business includes computers, mining, air travel, energy, technology and media.