Two members of the Gupta family, wanted in South Africa in connection with a years-long “state capture” corruption investigation involving multiple entities and officials, have been taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The arrest of Rajesh and Atul Gupta was confirmed late Monday by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services after notification from UAE authorities.
“Discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward are ongoing,” the South African ministry said in a statement. “The South African government will continue to cooperate with the UAE.”
The Guptas – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – were Indian immigrants to South Africa who became extremely affluent and influential in numerous dealings, including those involving the state-owned Eskom utility provider. They were close associates of former president Jacob Zuma and numerous other high-level leaders.
The Guptas fled South Africa as the investigation centered on their influence over political appointments and contracts, leading to the seizure of US$20.8 million in Gupta assets in 2018. Gupta holdings include property in the UAE, and Ajay Gupta was known to be in Dubai at that time.
The Guptas remain at the center of the corruption investigation, with an April report from South African Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noting that nearly $1 billion (R14.7 billion) in Eskom contracts were subject to manipulation by executives accused of acting on behalf of the Guptas.
The executives include former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, former CFO Anoj Singh, and former acting CEO Matshela Koko, with Zondo recommending prosecution of additional officials including nearly all former Eskom board members from 2014.