Joint FBI and UK investigation launched
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are investigating links between the Gupta brothers’ activities in South Africa and HSBC and Standard Chartered. Chancellor Philip Hammond said he had passed on concerns raised by MP Peter Hain to the FCA, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the National Crime Agency. Mr Hain has not accused the banks of wrongdoing, but has asked that evidence from whistle-blowers and other sources be investigated.
Meanwhile, in the US, FBI investigators have in recent months started probing individuals, bank accounts, and businesses for ties to alleged graft involving the Gupta family, focusing in part on brothers Ashish and Amol Gupta, who are US citizens.
The Gupta family, founders of a business empire spanning media, mining and consulting, have been named in a raft of leaked emails alleging corruption in dealings with South African state-owned businesses. The emails also named several global firms.
According to the Financial Times, which cited as sources “people familiar with the matter”, US investigators have been looking at individuals, bank accounts and companies in the U.S. for ties to alleged graft involving the family. The newspaper gave no further details.
The FCA said it was in contact with HSBC and Standard Chartered banks following reports in British newspapers that the finance minister had asked regulators to investigate the lenders’ possible ties to the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma. The FCA is already in contact with both banks and will consider carefully any further responses received.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 13 November 2017