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Notorious Gupta brothers in Vanuatu 'innocent until proven guilty', citizenship office says

It says there is not sufficient evidence to cancel their Vanuatu citizenship certificate, which was issued four years ago.

In a statement, the chairman of the Citizenship Commission Robin Kapapa said Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta have major businesses in South Africa.

The chairman said the Guptas admitted in their application for Vanuatu citizenship that they were under investigation in South Africa on charges of money laundering, fraud and corruption.

"In their application to Vanuatu citizenship office, Financial Intelligent Unit confirmed that the Gupta brothers are under ongoing investigation in South Africa of two criminal charges; money laundering and fraud and corruption but they are innocent until proven guilty in court," Kapapa said.

The Commission retained its right to cancel their citizenship if they were found guilty.

But the charges have never been resolved and attempts to extradite them from the UAE have so far been unsuccessful.

The Daily Post newspaper recently published that the Gupta brothers are wanted escapees from South Africa due to the charges they face.

Kapapa said the Citizenship Commission is not taking the issue lightly and is closely monitoring the situation.

He said should the Guptas be convicted their citizenship will be cancelled but presently there is insufficient evidence to support this.

"At the present time there is insufficient evidence to support the need for their citizenship to be cancelled," he added.