The United States of America's Department of the Treasury’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned members of a significant
corruption network in South Africa that leveraged overpayments on
government contracts, bribery, and other corrupt acts to fund
political contributions and influence government actions.

Specifically, OFAC designated Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, Rajesh Gupta,
and Salim Essa for their involvement in corruption in South Africa
pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and
implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

“The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in
widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and
misappropriate state assets.  Treasury’s designation targets the
Guptas’ pay-to-play political patronage, which was orchestrated at the
expense of the South African people,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

“The Guptas and Essa have used their influence with prominent
politicians and parties to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
We will continue to exclude from the U.S. financial system those who
profit from corruption.”

The sanctions announcement, according to a statement made available to
SaharaReporters by the US Department of State, demonstrates the U.S.
government’s unwavering commitment to supporting the rule of law and
accountability in South Africa.

"We support the anti-corruption efforts of South Africa’s independent
judiciary, law enforcement agencies, and the ongoing judicial
commissions of inquiry.  Moreover, we commend the extraordinary work
by South Africa’s civil society activists, investigative journalists,
and whistleblowers, who have exposed the breadth and depth of the
Gupta family’s corruption.

THE GUPTA FAMILY

Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta immigrated to South Africa in the 1990s,
and due in large part to their generous donations to a political party
and their reportedly close relationship with former South African
President Jacob Zuma, their business interests expanded.  The family
has been implicated in several corrupt schemes in South Africa,
allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illegal
deals with the South African government, obfuscated by a shadowy
network of shell companies and associates linked to the family.

Credible reports of these corruption schemes include the Gupta family
offering members of the South African government money or elevated
positions within the government, in return for their cooperation with
Gupta family business efforts.  Public reporting has revealed Gupta
family efforts to garner the cooperation of a potential Minister of
Finance by promising millions of dollars in return for the
individual’s assistance in removing key members of the South African
government who were considered to be stumbling blocks to the Gupta
family’s enterprises.

In another instance of an attempt to obtain the assistance of a member
of government through illicit means, Rajesh reportedly promised a cut
of a large scale development project to a provincial minister in
return for the minister’s assistance.  While making this offer, Rajesh
reportedly referred to two other politically powerful individuals
present at the meeting as receiving large monthly payments, similar to
the one being offered the provincial minister, directly from Rajesh in
return for their assistance with a mining project.  In addition, the
Gupta family was overpaid for government contracts and then used a
portion of the proceeds of those overpayments to donate money to a
South African political party.

Further, the family paid money to a South African government official
in exchange for the appointment of other government officials friendly
to the Gupta family business interests.  As a part of their corrupt
business enterprise, South African government officials and business
executives discussed ways to capture government contracts and then
move the proceeds of those contracts through Gupta-owned businesses.

AJAY GUPTA

Ajay Gupta (Ajay) is being designated for being the leader of an
entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in,
corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the
expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related
to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or
bribery.

Ajay is the family patriarch who formulated the family’s corrupt
business strategies and controlled its finances.


ATUL GUPTA

Atul Gupta (Atul) has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided
financial, material, technological support for, or goods or services
to or in support of, an entity that has engaged in, or whose members
have engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state
assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain,
corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of
natural resources, or bribery.

Atul is widely known to have overseen the Gupta family’s outreach to
corrupt government officials.

RAJESH GUPTA

Rajesh Gupta (Rajesh) has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided
financial, material, technological support for, or goods or services
to or in support of, an entity that has engaged in, or whose members
have engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state
assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain,
corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of
natural resources, or bribery.

Rajesh cultivated important relationships with the sons of powerful
South African politicians and led efforts to pursue business and
relationships in a South African province where corruption was
rampant.  Rajesh attempted to use at least one of those relationships
to seek undue influence with additional members of a South African
political party.

SALIM ESSA

Salim Essa, a business associate of the Gupta family, has materially
assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, technological
support for, or goods or services to or in support of, an entity that
has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, corruption,
including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of
private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government
contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property
of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned,
directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or
with other designated persons, that are in the United States or in the
possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be
reported to OFAC.

Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or
otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all
transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United
States that involve any property or interests in property of
designated or otherwise blocked persons.  In addition, any approval,
financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a U.S. person, wherever
located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by
that foreign person would be prohibited by E.O. 13818 if performed by
a U.S. person or within the United States would be prohibited.

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, on
December 20, 2017, the President signed E.O. 13818, in which the
President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and
corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part,
outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it
threatens the stability of international political and economic
systems.

Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an
essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies;
have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic
institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts;
facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic
markets.  The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant
consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage
in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the
United States from abuse by these same persons.

To date, the Department of the Treasury has designated 118 individuals
and entities under E.O. 13818.  This figure is in addition to the
numerous human rights- or corruption-related designations Treasury has
issued under other various authorities.  In total, since January of
2017, Treasury has taken action against more than 680 individuals and
entities engaged in activities related to, or directly involving,
human rights abuse or corruption.

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