Nowhere to hide: FBI, UK Serious Fraud Office start investigating Guptas

Lord Hain who campaigned against apartheid told peers that he was horrified at how South Africa’s leadership was “betraying” the values for which he and his parents had fought

He claimed "expert South African whistle-blowers" had told him the bank "must have been conduits for the corrupt proceeds of money stolen from their taxpayers and laundered through Dubai and Hong Kong".

The family's close relationship with President Jacob Zuma has allegedly enabled them to benefit financially from state resources.

Ministers confirmed that the Chancellor has asked the "relevant authorities" to look at whether banks including HSBC and Standard Chartered acted as "conduits" for laundered money.

Lord Hain named 27 people in the letter, in addition to companies, adding that any person or firm linked to alleged corruption in South Africa is "going to be badly contaminated".

Spokesmen for HSBC and Standard Chartered declined to comment.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened an investigation into the Gupta family, according to a report by EWN. They are the nephews of Atul and Ajay Gupta. A spokesperson for the Gupta family also did not respond to a request for a comment.

In South Africa, the scandal has already ruined British public relations company Bell Pottinger and damaged auditors KPMG, which removed its top executive team in the country.

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The Guptas reportedly sought to employ their nephews in South Africa in 2013 and Tax records in Texas name Ashish and Amol Gupta as directors of Brookfield Consultants Inc, a Houston-based company.

Hain is expected to follow up his letter with a question in the House of Lords on Thursday asking for an update on the chancellor's progress on the matter.

The Guptas and Mr. Zuma have denied wrongdoing.

"We are taking this very seriously because we realise the consequences of not doing so for the reputation of the City of London and the UK", said the UK Minister of State for the Department for International Development, Lord Bates.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said he had passed concerns raised by Peter Hain on to the Financial Conduct Authority‚ the Serious Fraud Office and the National Crime Agency.

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