May 28, 2018 / 3:00 PM / 6 months ago

South African court unfreezes Gupta family assets -EWN

JOHANNESBURG, May 28 (Reuters) - A South African court ordered 250 million rand ($20 million) in assets belonging to former president Jacob Zuma’s allies the Gupta brothers be unfrozen, the EWN news network and other local media reported.

The Guptas, who are Indian nationals, and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing in a series of scandals and allegations of graft and influence peddling that contributed to Zuma’s removal from the presidency by the ruling party earlier this year.

As part of an investigation into theft, fraud and money laundering at a state-backed dairy project in the Free State province meant to benefit the local community, prosecutors in April obtained a court order to freeze money in back accounts and other assets with Gupta-linked companies. EWN said the Free State High Court ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority’s application for a restraining order on the assets was marred by shortcomings. It did not say whether the money would be released immediately.

The Times Live news website reported that the assets included cash, cars and a helicopter. ($1 = 12.4491 rand) (Reporting by Ed Stoddard Editing by Peter Graff)

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