Atul Gupta challenges South African asset freeze

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 22, 2018

As a part of the investigation into the Gupta brothers' alleged links with former President Jacob Zuma, South African prosecutors were authorized to freeze the 10 million that was apparently an illegal transfer to Atul Gupta's bank account.

South Africa's News24 reported that he signed the papers in Dubai, but there is no independent confirmation of the reports. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

Ajay Gupta, who is considered a fugitive, is wanted for charges relating to allegations of fraud and corruption over the Estina Farm Community Project in Vrede, in the Free State. A spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority verified the veracity of the court papers to Reuters.

Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay have reportedly been spotted in various other cities over the past few days.

While police have discouraged the practice, Magda Wierzycka, head of Cape Town-based Sygnia Asset Management, has offered 500,000 rand of her personal money to anyone who has information that leads to locating Ajay before the end of this month. Ajay Gupta reportedly attended a wedding in Agra and arrived in Dehradun on February 13, according to the Times of India. He left for undisclosed location, the report said. However, the police aren't looking for Ajay, a spokesman for the elite police unit, the Hawks, which targets organised crime and corruption, said on Friday.

The start of the crackdown on the Guptas comes as South Africa's leadership changes, with President Cyril Ramaphosa replacing Zuma last week.

The Gupta family has been accused of using its friendship with former President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane to secure all manner of state favours from mining contracts to choosing cabinet ministers to landing their aircraft at high-security military airbases.

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