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World

AFP
April 17, 2018

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South Africa authorities raid Gupta property over graft

South Africa authorities raid Gupta property over graft

JOHANNESBURG: South African officials on Monday raided a Johannesburg property belonging to the Guptas, a wealthy business family at the heart of graft allegations against former president Jacob Zuma.

The Hawks police investigative unit and the tax service descended on the Guptas’ heavily protected compound in the upmarket suburb of Saxonwold. Prosecution authorities said the officials were enforcing a court order in a fraud and money laundering case involving the Guptas, who are accused of receiving favourable government deals during Zuma’s presidency.

The officials put the property and other assets "under restraint pending finalisation of the criminal case," National Prosecution Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told AFP. Thirteen people are facing charges linked to allegations that 250-million-rand ($20 million) of public money meant for poor dairy farmers was siphoned off by the Guptas.

A private jet used by the family was on Friday flown back to South Africa where it was grounded by the court order, which also covers offices, farms and luxury cars. The Gupta brothers -- Atul, Ajay and Rajesh -- moved to South Africa in 1993 from India, a year before the country’s first democratic elections.

Their whereabouts is not publicly known, but they have previously denied any wrongdoing. Zuma was forced to resign as president two months ago as criticism grew from within the ruling ANC party over corruption allegations against him.

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