Mozambique

Mozambique’s restructuring discussions with Russian lender VTB over a loan to the state-owned Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) are in the final stretch, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest country report, Reuters reported. The fund also said the devastation from Cyclone Idai which killed more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March, had severely hit agricultural production and disrupted transport, slashing growth projections by half for this year.

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Mozambique reached an agreement in principle with Russia’s VTB Bank PJSC on the restructuring of a loan that forms part of the nation’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal, according to the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. The southeast African nation has sought to restructure the loans since 2016, when the government admitted to the IMF it had contracted the bulk of them in secret, breaching an obligation to notify the Washington-based lender of any new credits. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Mozambican authorities are investigating the loans.

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Credit Suisse Group AG’s recent shareholder meeting took an awkward turn when a Mozambican activist questioned Chairman Urs Rohner over the bank’s role in fraudulent deals that saddled her country with $2 billion of debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. The confrontation halfway through Friday’s meeting was the latest example of the rising international pressure on Credit Suisse to forgive loans it made to Mozambican state-owned companies engaged in an alleged complex fraud, and potentially, to pay damages to victims.

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Privinvest Group began arbitration proceedings against three state-owned Mozambican companies to seek compensation for losses the shipbuilder says it incurred after contractual breaches, Bloomberg News reported. The legal action marks a step change in Privinvest’s response to charges against employees including salesman Jean Boustani by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ alleges Boustani and others stole about $200 million in Mozambique-loan proceeds in an indictment that stems from Mozambique’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal.

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Mozambique is seeking the cancellation of government guarantees on debts run up by state-run security firm Proindicus which helped spark a debt crisis in the country, its prime minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Mozambique has a case in London's High Court against investment bank Credit Suisse and a number of other parties linked with the $2 billion (£1.5 billion) worth of loans, which have sparked investigations in the United States and Mozambique, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story.

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Mozambique will continue with restructuring talks over $2 billion of defaulted loans, the Ministry of Finance said, even as an international scandal around the debt intensifies, Bloomberg News reported. The $2 billion comprises three loans, one of which was converted into a eurobond, and another two that are guaranteed by the state.

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Britain’s financial watchdog has dropped a criminal probe into Credit Suisse related to an alleged fraud in Mozambique, but is still checking the bank and individuals for any breaches of conduct rules, the watchdog said on Tuesday. In 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched an investigation into the Swiss bank’s activities in Mozambique, where around $2 billion of loans to state-owned companies pushed the country into a debt crisis, Reuters reported.

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Mozambique has indicted 18 citizens for their involvement in fraud involving $2 billion in loans to state-owned companies, the attorney general's office (AGO) said on Monday, in a scandal that has ensnared two major international banks, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. "Mozambique AGO is indicting 18 defendants, (ranging) from public workers and other citizens, on charges of abuse of power, abuse of trust, swindling and money laundering," it said in a statement.

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Emerging markets were a boon for bankers after the 2008 crisis, when resource-rich Africa and Asia seemed to have definitively decoupled from the debt-laden economies of the U.S. and Europe. Yet as lawsuits over alleged corruption and bribery pile up, an uglier side of those glory days is emerging — and taxpayers and investors will be left to pick up the tab, a Bloomberg View reported. Credit Suisse Group AG’s dealings in Mozambique, where about half the population lives in poverty, are the latest to be thrust in the spotlight by U.S. prosecutors.

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Three former Credit Suisse bankers were charged by US prosecutors alongside Mozambique’s former finance minister over alleged fraud connected to the southern African nation’s $2bn hidden loans scandal, the Financial Times reported. A spokesperson for the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York said that three former employees of the Swiss investment bank were arrested in London on Thursday and their extradition was being sought over alleged money laundering and defrauding of US investors in the loans.

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