South Africa starts process to extradite Gupta brothers

Authorities in South Africa have started the formal process of extraditing the Gupta brothers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after serving a formal extradition request to prosecutors in Dubai.

Atul and Rajesh Gupta were arrested last month after Interpol issued a red notice for them.

They were wanted in South Africa on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to just over $1.2m (£1m).

The Gupta family denied the wrongdoing.

They have been living in the UAE since they fled South Africa four years ago – after an anti-corruption inquiry, known as the Zondo Commission, started investigating their alleged involvement in massive state corruption.

Ajay Gupta, the third Gupta brother, was not in custody as an arrest warrant for him was revoked. He was accused of attempting to bribe a public servant by offering him the post of finance minister, in return for state tenders.

The family has close ties to former President Jacob Zuma.

They were accused of paying financial bribes in order to win lucrative state contracts and influence powerful government appointments – a process known as state capture.

The South African Department of Justice was hoping to charge them with further crimes related to state capture.

South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma, has been accused of having a corrupt relationship with members of the Indian-born Gupta family, and even letting them interfere in ministerial appointments.

Although both Mr Zuma and the Guptas denied any wrongdoing, these allegations were the main reasons people wanted him to resign. So who were the Guptas and how close were their links to Mr Zuma?

Brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as Tony) Gupta, all in their 40s, relocated to South Africa from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in 1993, just as white minority rule was ending and the country was opening up to the rest of the world.

Family spokesman, Haranath Ghosh, told the BBC by email that their father, Shiv Kumar Gupta, sent Atul to South Africa, believing that Africa was about to become the “America of the world” – the world’s land of opportunity. -BBC

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