The Department of Justice and Dubai Police have confirmed that Atul and Rajesh Gupta were arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday (6 June).
Dubai police said today they made the arrest after receiving an Interpol “red notice” warrant for the two, but haven’t disclosed the whereabouts of third brother Ajay Gupta.
“The arrest reflects the continuous efforts of the UAE in combating money laundering crimes through local cooperation among the competent authorities,” according to a statement from Dubai Police.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has welcomed new of the arrests and called for a speedy extradition so they can face charges in South Africa.
“Charges were brought against the brothers after Nulane Investments Director, Iqbal Sharma allegedly received a R25-million tender to complete a feasibility survey on the Estina Dairy project in the Free State,” the organisation says in a statement today. “The survey was outsourced to Deloitte for R1,5-million and R21-million was then paid over to Islandsite Investments – a company in which Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives were directors.
“While the arrests have been confirmed by the Office of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), we hope that South Africa and the UAE will co-operate to expedite the Guptas’ extradition so that they can stand trial.”
Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s executive head of accountability, says: “We’ve always said that fighting corruption in South Africa requires resilience. That if the rule of law is allowed to take its course, those implicated will eventually get their day in court. This is a major step forward in the prosecution of state capture culprits.”
Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s lead investigator on state capture matters, also welcomed the arrest. “It put an end to rumours about the Gupta family’s whereabouts and, with their arrest out of the way, we’re hoping that more arrests and swift prosecutions will follow.”