New Delhi: On charges of running a corruption network, South Africa’s high-profile Gupta family have been put under sanctions by the United States. According to reports, the Indian-origin business family indulged in a number of irregularities to further their empire. Here are five things to know about the family:
1. Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta are from Uttar Pradesh. In the 1990s, they immigrated to South Africa. Their first venture into South Africa was the establishment of Sahara Computers and Sahara Systems (Pty) Ltd. Their associate Salim Essa has also been named.
Ajay is the family patriarch who looked after the business strategies and the finances. Atul used to take care of the political outreach of the business. Rajesh cultivated important relationships with the sons of powerful South African politicians and led efforts to pursue business and relationships in a South African province where corruption was rampant
2. The family had close ties with former South African President Jacob Zuma. The family was well accepted in the power corridors of South Africa because of the generous donations it made. The family is known to have employed Zuma’s wife Bongi Ngema-Zuma. One of Zuma’s sons, Duduzane Zuma was a director in a number of Gupta owned firms and one of his daughters, Duduzile Zuma, was made a director of the Gupta owned Sahara computers in 2008.
3. This is not the family’s first brush with corruption. The family has been linked to many corruption charges. One of them is the infamous Guptagate controversy. According to reports, on 30 April 2013, an Airbus A330-200 chartered aircraft run by Jet Airways carrying 217 guests from India was cleared to land at the South African Air Force base for the wedding ceremony of Vega Gupta. The use of the airbase for the wedding drew flak.
4. The Gupta family has relocated to Dubai amid corruption charges against them in South Africa. The family has been implicated in several corrupt schemes in South Africa, allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illegal deals with the South African government.
5. This year, the Gupta family made it to the headlines for Rs 200 crore wedding of the two sons of the family, held in Auli — the luxurious ski destination in Uttarakhand. Helicopters were hired to ferry guests, including politicians, business leaders and Bollywood stars.
(With Agency Inputs)