Durban - Details have emerged of arrested fugitives Rajesh and Atul Gupta’s lavish lifestyle in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the brothers were arrested this week in connection with fraud and corruption in South Africa.
Dubai Police this week said that the arrest of the Gupta brothers, who are wanted in South Africa over money laundering and criminal charges, reflects the continuous efforts of the UAE in combating money laundering crimes.
On Monday, the South African Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services confirmed that it had received information from law enforcement authorities in the UAE that the brothers had been arrested. The extradition process between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates has started but it could be a long and drawn-out process.
Last year, Interpol issued red notices against Atul Gupta and his wife, Chetali; Rajesh Gupta and his wife, Arti; former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory Ankit Jain; director of Wone Management Ravindra Nath; and the directors of Pragat Investments, Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh.
Dubai-based newspaper The National reports that the Gupta family lived for a few years with their families in the palatial and exclusive Emirates Hills community in Dubai. The home had gold inlay work that decorated the walls of the 40 000sq ft, 10-bedroom house which boasted a grand staircase, hand-painted central dome, multiple reception rooms with marble floors, and chandeliers, the paper reported.
The paper reports that the house was furnished with antiques and collectables and that furniture in the living rooms once belonged to Russian tsars, a sofa was once owned by Michael Jackson and miniature models of six private jets that the family owns were on display.
The National interviewed Prateek Chaudhry, described as a Dubai-based designer and managing director of interior design company The First Ferry and friend of the Guptas, who said he was a frequent visitor to the Gupta’s Emirates Hills home and their office in Boulevard Plaza near Burj Khalifa.
In the interview, Chaudhry, who spent time with Atul between 2018 and 2019, described the family as tight-knit, that the brothers worked together and were very close and said everyone, including the brothers, their wives and children lived in the same house.
The paper reports that Rajesh and Atul deny any wrongdoing and say they are the victims of a political witch hunt in South Africa. They are planning on fighting the application of the Red Notices, it was reported.
The brothers are wanted in South Africa in connection with the R25 million Nulane Investment case in the Free State and other matters related to fraud and corruption.
Suggestions are that the brothers had been living in Kazakhstan.