JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Thursday it would lay criminal charges of money laundering and corruption against India's state-owned Bank of Baroda, following allegations that the bank deliberately laundered money on behalf of controversial Gupta family.
A report by the country's anti-graft watchdog, the Public Protector, found that the Guptas used their personal friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to exert undue influence on government departments and state companies, popularly referred to as "state capture". Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied being corrupt.
Earlier this week the Organized Crime and Corruption Project released a report which found that, among other misdemeanors, officials at the bank’s South African branch deliberately suppressed employees’ reports of questionable Gupta-related transactions so that regulators would not be made aware of them.
"The DA believes that these allegations should be thoroughly investigated and we will now proceed to lay charges against the Bank of Baroda," the opposition party said.
"If these allegations prove true, it would seem as though the Bank of Baroda has knowingly facilitated the illicit flows of money from state-owned entities to Gupta accounts."
Despite South African banks shutting down their accounts with the Guptas, the Bank of Baroda continued to do business with the family and their companies, but the bank said in January it would no longer operate in South Africa.
- African News Agency (ANA)