Interpol red notice: what it means and why South Africa requested it

The brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates. They are accused in South Africa of profiting from their close links with former president Jacob Zuma and exerting unfair influence. Their arrests follow the issuing of a red notice by International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) at the beginning of March 2022. This paved the way for their arrest to face fraud and money laundering charges in South Africa. At the height of their activities in South Africa they owned a business empire spanning computer equipment, media, and mining. A judicial commission of inquiry into state capture recently found that the brothers, who are in their 40s, orchestrated massive corruption with Zuma’s help. Thabo Leshilo asked Bernadine Benson to explain.

What is Interpol, and what does it do?
Interpol is an inter-governmental organisation, aiming to help connect police agencies across the globe. It’s headquartered in Lyon, France. Its primary purpose is to create a framework that enables policing and other law enforcement agencies across the globe to work together. These agencies can share information on crime, criminals and criminal activities through an advanced secure e-communications system.

Currently, the three primary crime programmes considered a global priority are counter terrorism, organised and emerging crime and cybercrime. All Interpol actions are bound by the law of the country it may be assisting and are politically neutral.

Who belongs to Interpol and what’s its jurisdiction?
Interpol has 195 member countries, including South Africa. At the click of a button a country can reach out to the network and get assistance on transnational crime, criminals and other criminal threats from other members countries. The Command and Coordination Centre , its nerve centre, provides a 24-hour support service.

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