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FBI probes US links to Guptas, UK urged to probe banks - reports

Oct 19 2017 07:35
Bloomberg's Darren Boey, with Fin24

Hong Kong - The FBI has opened an investigation into US links to the Guptas, while the UK has asked financial enforcement agencies to probe possible ties between HSBC and Standard Chartered to South Africa’s Gupta family, the Financial Times reported.

The FBI is using information from the #GuptaLeaks emails, the FT reported.

The probe focuses on US citizens Ashish and Amol Gupta, nephews of Atul and Ajay Gupta. The nephews have a company which received payments from a Dubai-based, SA Gupta-linked company, the FT said, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that he had passed on concerns from Peter Hain, a former Labour cabinet minister, that the London-based banks might have handled illicit funds linked to the family via Hong Kong and Dubai, the FT said in a separate report.

The Guptas are at the heart of a political scandal in South Africa over allegations that they used a friendship with President Jacob Zuma to influence state business. Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Hain did not accuse HSBC or Standard Chartered of wrongdoing but, in a letter to Hammond, said that they should review transactions due to evidence, including material from whistle-blowers, that hundreds of millions of South African rand were laundered out of the country, according to the FT.

In reply, Hammond said that he had contacted the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office and National Crime Agency in the UK, the paper said.

According to the FT, the FCA said it was “already in contact with both banks named and will consider carefully further responses received.”

Spokespeople for HSBC and Standard Chartered declined to comment.

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