The latest round of Gupta emails released in a massive leak by whistleblowers to South Africa media confirms that the infamous family bought a R330 million mansion in Dubai in 2016, said to be president Jacob Zuma’s “second home”.
Investigative units at amaBhungane and the Daily Maverick have started to release new details in the so-called “Gupta Leaks”, which forms part of between 100,000 and 200,000 emails and other documents relating to state capture in South Africa.
Among the documentation is correspondence between the Guptas and agents relating to the home they bought in Dubai, which has been revealed to be L35 in Emirates Hills – a palatial 10-bedroom mansion overlooking the Montgomerie golf course.
News of the Guptas’ fancy new buy first broke in 2016, when the Sunday Times caught wind of the sale.
The Gupta Leak emails now confirm that this is the family’s residence in Dubai, and also details further information about the home, including some R21 million renovations that were planned for it.
The house was also mentioned in the letter addressed to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said to have been written on behalf of president Jacob Zuma seeking patronage for him and his family to make Dubai their second home.
The letter was part of the first Gupta email leaks published by the City Press and Sunday Times this past weekend.
“I am happy to inform you that my family has decided to make the UAE, and specifically Dubai, a second home and have already acquired a residence located at Emirates Hills, Dubai (Villa No. L-35, Lailak Street No.1),” the leaked letter said.
Zuma has denied any plans to leave South Africa, and has said that he will be settling down in his Nkandla home when he retires. The president also expressed shock at revelations in the leaks that implied his son, Duduzane, who has close ties to the Guptas, was planning to move to Dubai.
Zuma said that he has seen no letter, and has not heard any indication from Duduzane that there are plans for him to leave South Africa.
Other leaks in the haul showed that Duduzane had bought at R17.9-million apartment in the exclusive Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
AmaBhungane and the Daily Maverick are preparing to publish all the leaked letters, and have currently put the data off-shore to prevent any local interference.
The investigative groups said that, due to the sheer number of data and people implicated in the emails, and the national importance of making the information known to the public, the South African press code makes provision for the reports to be published without comment from those mentioned.
This is in cases where it could be that evidence is destroyed, people intimidated or threatened, or the reporters would otherwise be unable to report on matters of the public interest (see: section 1.8).
Images from Knight Frank, 2016