The Hawks on Wednesday morning confirmed their action relating to their investigation into the Vrede dairy farm owned by Gupta-linked company Estina.
Without mentioning the Gupta family by name in the statement, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “The Hawks’ serious corruption crime unit is currently conducting ongoing operations at various addresses in Gauteng, including a residential premises in Saxonwold near Johannesburg.”
The residential premises is the Gupta family compound.
“The operation is in respect of the Vrede Farm investigations. So far three people have been arrested and two other suspects are expected to hand themselves over to the Hawks. Operations are still ongoing and further details will be made available at a later stage.”
Although the Hawks have not named those arrested, City Press has learnt from a source close to the Guptas’ legal team that the elder Gupta brother, Ajay Gupta, has been taken in for questioning.
“Although the lawyers have said that their clients have not been arrested, Ajay Gupta has been taken in for questioning,” the source said.
The Hawks have not confirmed this, however.
City Press reported earlier on Wednesday that those arrested will appear in the Commercial Crimes Court in Bloemfontein on charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud relating to the dairy farm matter.
City Press reported that among those arrested was Peter Thabethe, the former head of the Free State department of agriculture, from which the Guptas and their companies syphoned off more than R200 million through the failed dairy project.