June 19, 2018

United Kingdom banks asked to probe links with Gupta family

20 October 2017, 12:59 | Clyde Nash

Philippe Lopez AFP

FBI UK regulators to investigate HSBC Stan Chart over dealings with South Africa’s Gupta family

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pushing British regulators to investigate allegations that HSBC and Standard Chartered helped to launder money as part of a South African corruption scandal, Treasury officials said Thursday.

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that British financial watchdogs had been asked to investigate Standard Chartered and HSBC in connection with possible links to the widening state capture scandal surrounding the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma.

Hain, who grew up in South Africa and became a prominent anti-apartheid activist, says whistleblowers informed him that hundreds of millions of pounds have been siphoned out of the country via Hong Kong and Dubai and that the banks "maybe inadvertently have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money".

The FBI in the US has begun a probe into the Guptas, investigating their links with American companies.

Meanwhile, UK authorities are also shining a spotlight on the Guptas' business activities and financial flows as the Serious Fraud Office is set to look into HSBC and Standard Chartered's exposure to the Guptas.

"The Guptas sought to employ their nephews in South Africa in 2013, the emails show".

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Both the Guptas and Zuma deny allegations of corruption and that their relationship gave the Gupta family an unfair level of influence over politics.

In his letter, dated September 25, which Fin24 has a copy of, Hain said United Kingdom law enforcement and regulatory authorities should investigate 25 people, including various members of the Gupta and Zuma families and 14 Gupta-affiliated companies.

London's Financial Times reports today that America's feared Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into the family, focusing on nephews of the Gupta brothers: Ashish and Amol Gupta. Gupta family spokesman Gary Naidoo could not be reached for comment and the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria had no immediate comment.

The House of Lords, the UK Parliament's upper chamber, was debating money laundering and state corruption in SA.

The UK Treasury passed Mr Hain's letter on to the FCA and prosecutors at the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office, saying "we take allegations of financial misconduct very seriously".

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority said that it has already been in contact with the banks, and was considering their responses, according to the FT.

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