A senior British lawmaker called on the authorities to investigate an unidentified U.K. bank for “possible criminal complicity,” after allegedly overruling internal concerns about suspicious transactions related to South Africa’s Gupta family.
British law enforcement agencies should probe the bank for an “iniquitous breach of legal banking practice” and an “incitement to money-laundering” of funds obtained through corruption in South Africa, Peter Hain told the House of Lords Wednesday.
Hain said he handed printouts of the transactions to the Chancellor a day earlier. While he named the bank to the Chancellor, he didn’t identify the bank in his remarks.
“Undoubtedly hard questions will need to be asked of the facilitating banks, because they have aided and abetted the Gupta money laundering activities,” Hain said. “Can the Chancellor please ensure that such evident money laundering and illegality is not tolerated and that the bank is investigated for a possible criminal complicity over this matter? Urgent action is needed to close down this network of corruption.”
Hain first wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond on Sept. 25 to request the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office and the National Crime Agency look into whether British banks facilitated alleged money-laundering by the Gupta family. The scandal surrounding the Indian-born Gupta brothers, their business connections with the family of President Jacob Zuma and their allegedly ability to direct state tenders have rocked South Africa’s government.
Zuma and the Guptas have consistently denied any wrongdoing. Spokesmen for Zuma and the Gupta family didn’t immediately respond to phone calls and an email requesting comment.
The U.K. treasury said it passed the letter to the FCA.