NEWS
01/04/2018 11:04 SAST | Updated 01/04/2018 11:08 SAST

South African Officials Take Gupta Fight To Dubai

A senior prosecutor working close to the case told City Press that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was confident that authorities in Dubai would cooperate.

Gallo Images via Getty Images
Indian businessmen, Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta. (Photo by Gallo Images/Business Day/Martin Rhodes)

According to a City Press report, prosecutors have taken their case against the Gupta's a step further by asking the United Arab Emirates government to preserve an amount of R169m that the family allegedly stole and transferred out of South Africa.

This comes after the high court in Bloemfontein granted an order in favour of the Asset Forfeiture Unit this week increasing the preservation order first granted in January to R250m.

This is the amount the controversial family and their lieutenants allegedly looted from the failed Estina dairy project in Vrede, Free State.

A senior prosecutor working close to the case told City Press that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was confident that authorities in Dubai would cooperate.

"We don't have any official cooperation agreements with them. But both countries have cooperated before. We have assisted them with cases and they have assisted us. And there is no doubt that they will assist us again," the unnamed source said.

The order, which City Press has obtained, states: "It is declared that the proceeds of the unlawful activities dealt with by the applicant in the affidavits filed by it is the total sum of R250m."

The NPA's Free State spokesperson, Phaladi Shuping, confirmed that the order was granted on Tuesday.

"The assumption is that the R169m is money that is not in South Africa at the moment. The assumption is that the money came from South Africa and is now in Dubai, fraudulently so. That is why they applied for that preservation order," according to Shuping.

In February, the Hawks arrested eight people in connection with the scandal. Among those charged with fraud, theft and money laundering were Gupta lieutenants Varun Gupta‚ Ashu Chawla‚ Kamal Vasram‚ Ronica Ragavan and Nazeem Howa, and former agriculture officials Peter Thabethe and Seipati Dlamini. They will appear in court again in August.