From Saxonwold to the UAE, the Guptas are making themselves comfortable in the equivalent of and they’re building a Hindu temple at a cost of R200m in India
and its moneyed facade is on display, right up against the road.
Halfway down the palm-tree-lined boulevard, a two-toned metallic brown and white Rolls Royce Ghost is parked in the driveway. It’s not that these homes don’t have garages, but surprisingly few luxury cars use them.
Property in Dubai has become a safe-haven, like gold. Estate agents and journalists City Press spoke to recounted stories of “dirty” money arriving in suitcases from places like Russia to buy properties in cash, and skyscrapers being built but never let because their sole purpose is to park the money.
Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: tax havens and the men who stole the world, famously called Dubai “one of the filthiest spots on the planet” due to its attitude towards financial transparency.
Most things aren’t public in Dubai. Even the buildings are elusive – huge skyscrapers of reflective glass have names like Indigo Tower and Fortune Tower but they give no clue to what goes on inside.
Unlike South Africa, few companies and their directors are listed on a public register, there’s no disclosure of beneficial ownership, and property records can’t be obtained without a power of attorney.
In Johannesburg, there’s no sign that the Guptas intend selling their Saxonwold homes. Even when ZS-OAK has been out of the country, Sahara Estate’s gates have remained open.