Nowhere to hide: FBI, UK Serious Fraud Office start investigating Guptas

20 October, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Julio Duncan
  • Lord Hain who campaigned against apartheid told peers that he was horrified at how South Africa’s leadership was “betraying” the values for which he and his parents had fought

According to the Financial Times, the Gupta family is at the heart of this scandal over allegations that they used their friendship with Zuma to influence state business and to divert funds from state-owned companies.

Standard Chartered closed some bank accounts linked to the Gupta family in South Africa in 2014, a spokeswoman for the bank said on Thursday.

"It will be no secret to financial crime experts that criminals target large and credible financial institutions for the same reasons that legitimate multi-national networks do - for their global reach", Mr Hain, who grew up in South Africa, said in a September 25 letter to the United Kingdom chancellor of the exchequer, or finance minister, Philip Hammond.

In an emailed response to The National, the bank added: "Standard Chartered takes its responsibility to combat financial crime very seriously and is fully committed to doing business in accordance with local and global regulatory and legal requirements". "It should not be restricted to South Africa", he told reporters.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied allegations of corruption against them.

The Gupta nephews are named as directors of Brookfield Consultants, a Houston-based company.

The Gupta empire which spans media, mining and consulting have been linked to a numerous leaked emails alleging graft in its dealings with South Africa's state-owned companies.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times on Thursday reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into possible links between the Guptas and "individuals, bank accounts, and companies in the US".

The Chancellor has asked the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and National Crime Agency (NCA) to look into the possibility that banks including HSBC and Standard Chartered were used as part of an alleged money laundering scheme, after concerns were raised to him by former Labour cabinet minister Lord Peter Hain.

There has been no comment from Gupta spokesman, Gary Naidoo.

'Will he ensure that those banks, together with European banks, about which I have similarly written to European Commission president Juncker, track down that laundered money, return it to the South African Treasury, and supply evidence to its officials to enable the prosecution of all those connected with such corruption'.

HSBC declined to comment.


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