Cape Town – UK Parliamentarian Peter Hain has said he has copies of illegal transactions from Gupta-linked companies to banks in the UAE and Hong Kong, which show the work of a “criminal network”.
The UK Labour peer and anti-apartheid campaigner was speaking on Wednesday evening in The House of Lords, the UK Parliament’s upper chamber.
Hain said he was given the documents by a whistleblower, and said they include records of all account numbers used.
Hain, who spent part of his youth in South Africa, said he had hand-delivered printouts of the transactions to UK Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday evening and named the banks involved.
The Labour peer said that some of the banks involved in the transactions were headquartered in the UK.
Hain has become an outspoken critic of SA President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family, referring to them as the “Gupta/Zuma transnational criminal network”.
“In regular visit to SA – most recently last month – I have been stunned by the systematic transnational crime network, facilitated by … the Guptas and presidential family, the Zumas,” he told the house.
Zuma and the Guptas have denied allegations of corruption against them.
Witting or unwitting
Hain’s speech was not the first time he raised the specter of SA-linked corruption by UK financial institutions in the UK Parliament.
In September, Hain wrote to Hammond asking him to investigate the complicity – “whether witting or unwitting” – of UK financial institutions in corruption in South Africa.
In his letter of September 25, which Fin24 has a copy of, Hain said UK law enforcement and regulatory authorities should investigate 25 people, including various members of the Gupta and Zuma families and 14 Gupta-affiliated companies.
The UK government subsequently announced that its Financial Conduct Authority was conducting an investigation.
Last month in a parliamentary debate he asked the UK government what it was doing to prevent money laundering through British banks by “families and business people linked to the government of South Africa”.
The UK Minister of State for the Department for International Development, Lord Bates, replied that the UK was taking corruption allegations linked to SA “very seriously”.
Hain’s Labour Party colleague in the European Parliament, Neena Gill, meanwhile, has tabled questions for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, calling for a strengthening of the EU’s anti money laundering rules governing EU financial institutions active in third countries.
In a statement on Monday, Gill said she had raised the issue after Hain brought it to her attention.
“The EU is South Africa’s most important development and trade partner,” said Gill. “Therefore a tough response from the EU will be taken seriously by both President Zuma’s government and the Gupta family.”
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24’s top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.