Canadian officials tried to warn EDC of ‘significant reputational risk’ in South African deal with Gupta brothers

(Globe & Mail, Toronto, 26 March 2019) Senior federal officials sought to warn Canada’s export agency that it had suffered “significant” risk to its reputation because of its US$41-million loan to the controversial Gupta brothers who were at the heart of a South African corruption scandal, internal documents show. The documents, obtained by The Globe and Mail under federal access laws, show that Global Affairs Canada wanted an explanation of the risky loan from the federal agency, Export Development Canada, during a planned meeting in March, 2018, where the Gupta deal was scheduled to be a top agenda item. Canada's export agency was aware of allegations against South Africa's controversial Gupta family for the past five years, yet it went ahead with a US$41-million loan to the Guptas anyway, a lawyer for the family says. After a year of legal battles, Canada’s export agency has won the right to sell a notorious Canadian-funded airplane that played a highly visible role in the corruption scandal that toppled South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma.