South Africa: What the U.S. Blacklist of Gupta Brothers Means

Left: Atul Gupta. Top-right: South African flag. Bottom-right: U.S. flag.
opinion

It is now well known in South Africa that the United States of America took a bold step in visiting consequences upon certain Gupta family members and an associate for capturing South Africa.

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an Executive Order (E.O.) 13818 blacklisting the Gupta brothers and Salim Essa from doing business in the US, and with US businesses, for their involvement in grand corruption in South Africa pursuant.

"The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets," said Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Predictably, South African authorities have embraced the US position on the Guptas and their associates, even informing the public that they have issued requests for mutual legal assistance to other countries.

Interestingly on 10 December 2018, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs unanimously approved the Dutch proposal for the EU-wide Magnitsky Act (the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime). This and other developments will surely expedite responding to the mutual legal assistance requests by South African authorities.

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