Hain sets UK watchdogs on Bank of Baroda as well as Standard Chartered and HSBC
The activist has enlisted the help of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to track down about R7bn and return it to SA’s Treasury
Activist Peter Hain has enlisted the help of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to track down about R7bn in money thought to have been laundered through the Guptas’ networks, and ensure it is returned to SA’s Treasury.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that British financial watchdogs had been asked to investigate Standard Chartered and HSBC in connection with possible links to the widening state capture scandal surrounding the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma.
The Guptas and Zuma deny wrongdoing.
Hain on Thursday asked Hammond also to ensure that Bank of Baroda is investigated by British financial watchdogs along with HSBC and Standard Chartered.
In his initial letter to Hammond, dated September 25, Hain says it became clear to him that “this Gupta/Zuma criminal network is not localised to SA — indeed, it has been enabled by a transnational money-laundering network”.
Explaining his reasons for asking for probes of HSBC and Standard Chartered, he says that the majority of the funds in question flowed through the UAE and Hong Kong, where the two banks have their biggest footprints.
It is no secret, he says, “that criminals rtarget large and credible financial institutions for the same reason that legitimate multinational networks do — for their global reach”, adding that the experts he has spoken to “cannot see how [the banks] will not have been exposed to this network”.
He also mentions in that letter reports in July that $1m from Swiss crane manufacturer Liebherr made its way to Brookfield Consulting — which is owned by US citizens who are related to the Guptas.
The Financial Times also reported on Thursday that an FBI probe was focused in part on two US citizens who are nephews of the Gupta brothers who have South African citizenship.
In a follow-up letter on Thursday, Hain adds Baroda to the list of institutions to look into.
Hain writes: “Can I thank the Chancellor for ensuring the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office and the National Crime Agency investigate HSBC, Standard Chartered Banks, and also can I add Baroda Bank, each of which expert South African whistle-blowers have told me must have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money stolen from their taxpayers and laundered through Dubai and Hong Kong.”
Read Peter Hain's letter to Philip Hammond
Disclaimer: Many of the names mentioned by Peter Hain in his request for a probe, are mentioned because of their closeness to the Guptas and Zuma, and are not necessarily themselves implicated in the state capture project.
Read Philip Hammond's reply to Peter Hain:
Read Peter Hain's money laundering question: