Ajay and Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Ajay and Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Lord Peter Hain has asked the UK to follow the US move and immediately impose sanctions on the Gupta family.

Hain wrote a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, who is the government’s chief financial minister, following the announcement by the US treasury that it has imposed sanctions against members of the family.

The Gupta brothers are at the centre of allegations of wide-ranging corruption and claims that they used their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to win government tenders, influence his policies, and influence the appointment of ministers and senior government officials.

The Guptas have denied the allegations.

The US sanctions against Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, and Salim Essa mean all their properties and financial interests in the US will be frozen and ensure that they or their companies will not be able to do business in the US.

In a letter dated October 11, the former anti-apartheid activist and a peer in the House or Lords, asked Javid to impose sanctions on the three Gupta brothers.

He explained that the brothers, by using a network of their own companies buttressed by “shadowy shell companies”, obtained lucrative contracts from state-owned entiries (SOEs), such as Eskom, Transnet and SAA, and that this was facilitated by “corrupt executives installed by former president Zuma”.

“As a consequence, Sars — once envied across the world for its efficiency — was nearly decimated and the state power monopoly, Eskom, bankrupted,” Hain said.

He asked that, just as the US treasury sanctions forbid US entities from doing business with the family or handling their assets, that all UK entities be instructed to impose the same ban.  

“These UK entities include London-based banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of Baroda, which, in recent years, facilitated money laundering by the Guptas and which I exposed in the House of Lords late in 2017 and early 2018,” Hain wrote.

He also asked Javid to request authorities in India and Dubai to impose the same sanctions.

“Over the past 18 months, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has led the way in tackling this terrible damage and eliminating state capture, looting, cronyism and corruption. But he needs much more help from countries like Britain, which have been, and may still, be conduits for the Guptas to move their criminal millions around the world,” Hain said.

“I therefore ask you to act immediately to impose UK sanctions on the three Gupta brothers named.”

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