US freeze on Guptas will have international bite
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 Sigal Mandelker said any assets owned by the family in US jurisdiction have been blocked.
A News24 report says she did not comment on which of the assets would be affected by sanctions, saying only the family would also not be able to do business in the country or internationally.
Mandelker said the US would continue to hold ‘connected elites’ to account for allegedly ‘stealing from their people and breaking their trust’.
SA 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.
SA has an extradition treaty with the UAE.
Business Unity SA has described the US Treasury decision as the ‘sort of decisive action we all need,’ saying it will reinforce SA campaigns to combat state capture and corruption.
‘They have done SA huge service,’ said Busa President Sipho Pityana.
‘The US sanctions clearly identify that the Gupta family was at the heart of the most corrupt attack on SA’s sovereignty since the advent of democracy. And it severely curbs their attempts to continue as if they have done nothing wrong.’
According to a Fin24 report, Pityana said it was notable that the three Gupta brothers and Essa had been sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, a 2016 US law that allows the US to sanction foreigners accused of acts of significant corruption or serious human rights abuses.
‘The Global Magnitsky Act highlights the fact that corruption undermines the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure and functioning societies, has a devastating impact on individuals, weakens democratic institutions, degrades the rule of law and undermines economic markets,’ Pityana said.
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