Mozambique’s ex-finance minister to be extradited to US for role in bond fraud

Mozambique’s ex-finance minister to be extradited to US for role in bond fraud

Mozambique’s former Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, will reportedly be extradited to New York next month to face charges in the United States over his role in a $2 billion bond fraud scandal involving also Credit Suisse Group AG that paid $475 million for its role in alleged fraud, a UN prosecutor said on Monday June 26.

Chang has been in detention in South Africa since his arrest in December 2018 at the request of US authorities. Federal prosecutors in New York allege that corrupt Mozambique officials conspired with Credit Suisse bankers to take the country deeper into debt for dubious maritime projects such as a fleet of ships to combat. The approximately $475 million paid by Credit Suisse in 2021 was meant to resolve multiple investigations of its role in the scandal, one of several major legal and financial setbacks the Swiss bank faced in the years leading up to its collapse in March. A Credit Suisse unit and three former bankers also pleaded guilty to charges in the same case brought against Chang.

During Chang’s four-year detention, the United States and Mozambique competed over who would get to prosecute him, Assistant US Attorney Hiral Mehta said at a Monday hearing in Brooklyn federal court. South Africa’s top court in May dismissed an appeal by Mozambique seeking to prosecute him there.

Mozambique defaulted on a bond meant to guarantee $2 billion in loans for the maritime projects. Hundreds of millions of dollars that were allegedly looted from Mozambique — an East African nation with a great potential but with about 60% of its population continuing to struggle with poverty — tipped the country into economic crisis. Chang and Najib Allam, the former chief financial officer of shipbuilder Privinvest Group, are facing charges that include conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering.

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