News

Dubai and money laundering are there any connections – example 3 - the Guptas

24/08/2020

In what's been described as a "modern coup", the Gupta family effectively took control of the highest levels of power in South Africa, by allegedly bribing politicians, giving lucrative jobs to President Zuma's children and using other means to gain extraordinary levels of influence.

The Gupta family took in as much as US$7 billion in government funds, including a US$4.4 billion supply contract with South Africa's rail and port company.

The UAE has emerged as an essential jurisdiction for enabling the Gutpa's activities in South Africa.

One of the most infamous cases centred on TRANSNET SOC Ltd, a South African majority state-owned enterprise that wanted to buy new locomotives from China South Rail (CSR). In a recent report released by OpenSecrets. it is alleged that TRANSET's choice of CSR was secured through a whopping US$910 million worth of kickbacks. https://www.opensecrets.org.za/site/wp-content/uploads/TheEnablers_web.pdf

Some of those kickbacks seem to have been paid by CSR to a UAE-based front company, JJ Trading, again under the guise of 'consultant fees' and Despite no evidence of services rendered, HSBC's Dubai branch approved the payments.

As with other companies incorporated in the UAE, we have no idea who the real person behind JJ Trading is.

The company also didn't seem to have an office or any presence in its registered address, raising questions on whether it really existed. https://www.gupta-leaks.com/atul-gupta/watch-the-guptas-bogus-dubai-businesses/

Recent investigations show close connections between JJ Trading and Tequesta, another shell company headed by Salim Essa – a well-known affiliate of the Guptas. https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/gupta-link-in-r647m-train-deal-20180520-2

Later, in 2014, Tequesta would come to replace JJ Trading as the sole company to which the kickbacks were reportedly paid. https://amabhungane.org/stories/guptaleaks-guptas-and-associates-score-r5-3bn-in-locomotives-kickbacks/

Source - A recent report into attempts by the United Arab Emirates to combat money laundering and terrorist financing is damning, to say the least. - https://www.transparency.org/en/news/the-united-arab-emirates-a-key-piece-in-the-global-money-laundering-puzzle