Call to strengthen EU money laundering laws over Gupta graft allegations

Cape Town - The UK Labour Party’s economic affairs spokesperson in the European Parliament, Neena Gill, has requested a review of the EU’s laws on money-laundering over concerns that European banks have become embroiled in allegations of corruption around the Gupta family. 

Gill said in a media release on Monday that she had 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.

“I raised the issue of European financial institutions’ potential involvement in the South African money laundering scandal with the EU Commission, after my Labour colleague in the House of Lords, Peter Hain, brought it to my attention,” Gill said.

“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.”

The Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma have denied allegations of corruption. 

Follow suit

Gill noted that UK regulators were already looking into whether UK-headquartered financial institutions facilitated money laundering in relation to their links with the Guptas.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has started investigating UK banks that have done business with the Gupta families and members of SA’s government. 

READ: UK government worries over fallout of state corruption in SA

Gill said it was time that the the EU’s enforcement and regulatory authorities follow suit, by “looking into other European financial institutions that may be implicated”.

She added that, in addition to writing to Juncker, she had personally raised the issue with Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.

She did not say which financial institutions she had in mind when she raised the issue of money laundering. 

READ: Gigaba vows to crack down on illicit flows, as Gupta Dubai heat intensifies

If the EU does decide to investigate, it will bring to three the number of global investigations into allegations of corruption and money laundering in SA connected with the Gupta family. 

In addition to the UK probe being carried out by the FCA, the FBI in the US has reportedly also opened an investigation into the Gupta family's ties to the US.

The Financial Times reported earlier this month that the FBI probe would target US citizens Ashish and Amol Gupta, nephews of Atul and Ajay Gupta.

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