Dubai: Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Justice, held a phone call with Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services of the Republic of South Africa, to discuss the ruling on the extradition request concerning Atul and Rajesh Gupta.
The Dubai Court of Appeal issued its decision that Atul and Rajesh Gupta, accused in relation to two cases of money laundering, fraud, and corruption, cannot be extradited.
The decision to reject the extradition request follows a comprehensive and thorough legal review process that found that the request did not meet the strict standards for legal documentation as outlined in the extradition agreement between the UAE and South Africa that entered into force in April 2021.
For the extradition request concerning the charge of fraud, article (3/9) of the extradition treaty stated that the extradition request shall be accompanied by a copy of the arrest warrant order, whereas the submitted documents for the two accused were attached with the cancelled arrest warrant order, thereby failing to meet the extradition conditions.
Concerning the charge of corruption, article (3/9) of the extradition treaty stated that the extradition request shall be accompanied by a copy of the arrest warrant order, whereas the submitted documents are free of the arrest warrant order of the two accused for the charge of corruption, thereby failing to meet the extradition conditions.
On November 29, 2022, the UAE Ministry of Justice received the original extradition file from South African authorities after holding several meetings. The extradition request was referred to the Public Prosecution to investigate the accused concerning the charges leveled against them.
After a comprehensive investigation, the file was referred to the Court of Appeal, which, after three hearings, issued its decision that the accused could not be handed over to South African authorities.
At every step, UAE judicial authorities briefed their South African counterparts on proceedings.
The UAE has 45 extradition treaties in place, 37 of which are now fully ratified, with 8 pending full legal ratification.
In addition, the UAE has 44 bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance (MLAs) agreements actively in place. In 2023 alone, 30 extradition requests have been approved relating to international suspects and other persons.
The UAE remains resolute in working with its international partners to intercept, prosecute, and prevent global financial crime and is committed to transparency and procedural integrity in this regard.
Following the decision by the Dubai Court of Appeal, the UAE judiciary underscored that South African authorities are able to resubmit the extradition request with new and additional documentation.