Gupta brothers are allegedly at the centre of a corruption scandal
Two brothers from the wealthy Gupta family have been arrested in Dubai, the South African government has announced.
Atul and Rajesh Gupta are accused of profiting from their close links with former president Jacob Zuma and exerting unfair influence.
According to South African officials, extradition talks are taking place with the UAE.
The arrest came as an investigation into the massive plundering of state institutions during Zuma’s area was concluded.
South Africa’s justice ministry “confirms that it has received information from law enforcement authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that fugitives of justice, namely, Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested”.
The Gupta brothers are allegedly at the centre of a corruption scandal that dogged Zuma’s nine-year administration until 2018.
They were accused of paying bribes in exchange for lucrative state contracts and influence over ministerial appointments.
Their arrests came almost a year after Interpol issued a red notice in July 2021.
The ministry said: “Discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward are ongoing.”
The Guptas came to South Africa in 1993 to build a business empire in mining, computer technology and media.
They were granted South African citizenship but fled the country shortly after a judicial commission investigating corruption started in 2018.
After four years of investigations, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo compiled a report revealing how the brothers became enmeshed with the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In a series of reports, the investigators said procurement contracts at the proprietor of all rail, ports and pipelines amounted to “planned offences of racketeering activity conducted by a racketeering enterprise” linked to the Guptas.
Investigators also concluded that Zuma “would do anything that the Guptas wanted him to do for them”.
The corruption scandals resulted in Zuma being forced to resign in 2018.
In 2021, Zuma was jailed for 15 months after he refused to testify before investigators. He was released on parole, having served just two months of the term.
In July, Interpol said the Gupta brothers were being sought for fraud and money laundering in connection with a 25 million rand (£1.3 million) contract paid to a Gupta-linked company, Nulane Investment, to conduct an agricultural feasibility study.