Guptas brothers handcuffed in Dubai by Interpol

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By Toby Shapshak

South Africa woke up to the news on Tuesday that Rajesh and Atul Gupta had been nabbed in Dubai by Interpol.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s key benefactors in state capture have been living large in the United Arab Emirates since fleeing the country in 2016. Zuma’s son Duduzane, who was on the boards and a shareholder in most Gupta businesses, is also hiding out in an expensive penthouse in Dubai.

From its compound in the posh suburb of Saxonwold in Johannesburg, the controversial immigrant Indian family stole some R50-billion from South Africa, Shadow World Investigations’ Paul Holden told the Zondo Commission last year.

The high-profile arrests follow an extradition agreement signed with the UAE a few years ago and the issuing of red notices by Interpol four months ago, which require member states to arrest the fugitives.

The justice department confirmed the arrests on Monday night, after News24’s legal reporter Karyn Maughan broke the story.

The red notices, or international arrest warrants, related to a R50-million payout by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane, which was controlled by key Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma. He was arrested in June 2021 in connection with the failed R288-million Estina dairy project in Vrede, in the Free State.

The Guptas’s infamous influence has emerged in graphic detail at the Zondo Commission, including a brazen attempt to bribe then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas with R600-million in cash.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s scathing report into Transnet and its former CEO Brian Molefe, found that Molefe (by then Eskom CEO) had 58 telephone calls with Ajay Gupta, the eldest Gupta brother, between August 2015 and March 2016.

Molefe cried during a press conference and infamously claimed he was frequenting a shebeen in the leafy suburb, prompting the #SaxonwoldShebeen meme.

Image source: @JacarandaFM

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