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Guptas dismantle South African empire as bank accounts close

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Cape Town - The Gupta family are selling their assets in South Africa to little-known companies as their access to banking facilities dries up and allegations intensify that they used their friendship with President Jacob Zuma to wield undue influence over his administration.

On Wednesday they announced the sale of a coal business to a Swiss company that has no history in the commodities business, after saying this week that they plan to sell their media unit to a former government spokesperson in a deal the family are funding themselves. They have said that without banking facilities they won’t be able to pay workers.

“The Guptas allegedly use very elaborate structures to do their business and may be selling assets to circumvent their lack of access to banking facilities,” Darias Jonker, an Africa analyst at risk advisory firm Eurasia Group, said. “I wouldn’t be surprised that as these deals progress and we take a closer look, we find that there’s been no real transfer of ownership.”

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