The United States on Thursday sanctioned three members of the Gupta family and their business associate for their involvement in corruption in South Africa.
“The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“We will continue to exclude from the U.S. financial system those who profit from corruption.”
The three Gupta brothers, friends of former president Jacob Zuma, are accused in South Africa of using their relationship with Zuma to profit financially and influence senior appointments.
They deny wrongdoing, but their relationship with Zuma is the focus of a South African judicial inquiry into state corruption.
ALSO READ: Ajay Gupta says he will testify at South Africa’s state-capture inquiryThe U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, and Salim Essa, a business associate of the family.
“As a result of today’s actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement.
“The United States strongly supports ongoing efforts by the Government of South Africa, including its independent judiciary, judicial commissions of inquiry, and law enforcement agencies, to investigate and prosecute alleged instances of corruption,” Pompeo added.
Ajay Gupta’s lawyer Rudi Krause did not immediately respond to a telephone call and text message seeking comment.