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UAE rejects South Africa request to extradite Gupta brothers

South Africa learned with 'shock and dismay' that the UAE rejected the extradition of the graft-accused Gupta brothers

Deutsche Welle Published 07.04.23, 06:06 PM
Atul Gupta

Atul Gupta Deutsche Welle

A court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dismissed South Africa's request for the extradition of brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta, who face charges of political corruption, South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said on Friday.

"We learnt with shock and dismay that the extradition hearing had been concluded in the Dubai Court on the 13 February 2023 and our extradition request was unsuccessful," Lamola said in a statement.


The ultra-wealthy brothers ran a sprawling family business empire in South Africa for more than two decades after immigrating to the country from India.

What are the Gupta brothers accused of?

The Guptas are accused of using their connections with Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018, to win contracts, influence cabinet appointments and siphon off state funds.

South Africa's case centers on an alleged 25-million-rand ($1.6-million or €1.5 million) fraud scheme linked to an agricultural feasibility study. Zuma and the Guptas have denied all wrongdoing.

The brothers left South Africa after Zuma was unseated in 2018. A judicial inquiry established in 2018 to examine allegations of graft during Zuma's years in power has recommended criminal charges against the Guptas.

South Africa filed the extradition request in July last year after the two were arrested in Dubai a month earlier. The arrests followed the inking of an extradition treaty between Pretoria and the UAE.

Why was the extradition request rejected?

Lamola said the Dubai court determined that the UAE had jurisdiction on the charge of money laundering, as the crime in question was alleged to have been committed in the country as well as in South Africa.

On the charge of fraud and corruption, "the court found that the arrest warrant relating to this charge was cancelled," the minister said.

"The reasons provided for denying our request are inexplicable and fly in the face of the assurances given by Emirati authorities that our requests meet their requirements," Lamola said.

He added that South Africa would "promptly appeal" the decision.

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