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Guptas Grabbed, Face South Africa Charges

FILE - In this Sept. 2010 file photo, Atul Gupta, of the Gupta family, is seen outside magistrates courts in Johannesburg. South Africa said Friday, June 11, 2021

South Africa said on Monday the United Arab Emirates had arrested Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, brothers who face charges of political corruption under former South African president Jacob Zuma.

With the two Gupta brothers in cuffs, South Africa's Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said on Monday there were discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa "on the way forward" - meaning extradition to South Africa.

Confirming South Africa's statement on Tuesday, Dubai police said on Twitter that it had coordinated with South African authorities "regarding the extradition file to complete the legal procedures"

The two nations agreed an extradition treaty only last year.

The brothers are accused of using connections with Zuma to win contracts, misappropriate state assets, influence cabinet appointments and siphon off state funds. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

The Indian-born brothers left South Africa after Zuma was ousted in 2018. An inquiry was established in 2018 to examine allegations of graft during Zuma's years in power.

South Africa's largest opposition party welcomed the arrests.

"We hope that this is indeed the beginning of arrests and prosecution of those who have - locally and abroad - looted our country for years and are directly responsible for the hardships that millions of South Africans face today," the Democratic Alliance said in a statement.