Sanctions imposed against the Gupta family and their business associate Salim Essa mean that the family will have a lot more difficulty doing business in the US and around the world.
During a media briefing on Friday, the US Treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, said any assets owned by the family in US jurisdiction have been blocked.
She did not want to comment on which of the assets would be affected by sanctions, only saying the family would also not be able to do business in the country or internationally.
The US Treasury announced the sanctions on Thursday. Mandelker said the US would continue to hold “connected elites” to account for allegedly “stealing from their people and breaking their trust”.
She added the Guptas and Essa had used their influence with prominent politicians and parties to line their pockets with ill-gotten gain.
“The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets,” Mandelker said.
During the media briefing, she commended the “extraordinary” work of civil rights groups, NGOs and investigate journalists, among others.
South Africa approached eight countries, including the US, for mutual legal assistance in an attempt to have the Guptas extradited to face state capture charges. The countries were India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Switzerland, Mauritius, Hong Kong and China, the justice department confirmed.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola had asked the UAE to finalise the ratification of treaties, mutual legal assistance and extradition, his spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, told News24 on Friday.
South Africa has an extradition treaty with the Middle Eastern country. The commission of inquiry into state capture, which is currently underway, is investigating allegations of undue influence by the politically connected Gupta family on former president Jacob Zuma and at state-owned enterprises. Zuma previously admitted that he was friends with the Guptas.