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Zuma associate under probe challenges assets freeze


REUTERS
JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN
ATUL Gupta, one of three Gupta brothers being investigated for corrupt links to ousted South African president Jacob Zuma, is challenging a court order freezing 10 million rand ($859,025) in his bank account, according to court papers.
South African prosecutors were authorised to freeze 220 million rand, including 10 million which they said was illegally transferred to Atul Gupta's bank account, as part of an investigation into fraud at a state-backed dairy project in the Free State province.
The three Gupta brothers, accused by the public anti-graft watchdog of using their friendship with Zuma to influence policy and amass wealth, have denied any wrongdoing, as has Zuma.
In the court papers filed in a court in the Free State province, Atul Gupta denied having received 10 million rand as alleged by prosecutors and said he was"currently outside South Africa."The affidavit attached to the court papers was signed on Feb 8 at the South African consulate in Dubai.
A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed the veracity of the court papers and said prosecutors would dispute Atul Gupta's challenge in court.
A lawyer authorised to speak for Atul Gupta could not be reached for comment.