The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pushing British regulators to investigate allegations that HSBC and Standard Chartered helped to launder money as part of a South African corruption scandal, Treasury officials said Thursday.
According to the Financial Times, the Gupta family is at the heart of this scandal over allegations that they used their friendship with Zuma to influence state business and to divert funds from state-owned companies.
Lord Hain, who grew up in South Africa and became a prominent anti-apartheid activist, wrote to Hammond last month, warning that whistleblowers have told him that hundreds of millions of pounds has been siphoned out of the country via Hong Kong and Dubai.
The FBI in the USA has begun a probe into the Guptas, investigating their links with American companies.
The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.
The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta have interests in computer, mining, media, travel, energy and technology and employ about 10,000 people through their company Sahara Group.
It's being reported that the FBI is investigating cash flows between South African Gupta-owned companies, Dubai and a company owned by Ashish and Amol in the United States. The South African bosses of accounting firm KPMG, which audited Gupta family businesses, also quit amid fallout from the affair.
The House of Lords, the UK Parliament's upper chamber, was debating money laundering and state corruption in SA.
Spokesmen for HSBC and Standard Chartered declined to comment.
An FCA spokesperson told The National that the regulator is already in contact with both banks and "will consider carefully further responses received".
The report stated the investigation is related to cash flows between South Africa, Dubai, and America.
Lord Hain, a leading anti-apartheid campaigner who grew up in South Africa, urged United Kingdom authorities "to track that stolen money down and make sure that British financial institutions help return it to South African taxpayers".
Ex-Northern Ireland secretary Lord Hain said the chancellor had agreed the matter would be looked into.
British Treasury chief Philip Hammond passed on allegations raised in a letter by former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain to the Financial Conduct Authority, the National Crime Agency and the Serious Fraud Office.