Arrests made in huge tuna-related scam in Mozambique

Published on
January 9, 2019

Government officials and bankers involved in a USD 200 million (EUR 175 million) tuna loan scam in the African country of Mozambique were recently arrested.

Former Mozambique Finance Minister Michael Chang was arrested in South Africa on 5 January after the U.S. Department of Justice for the Eastern District of New York indicted Chang; three former Credit Suisse bankers; and Jean Boustani, an executive with Privinvest, which supplied boats and gear for the fake tuna project.

The U.S. government indictment details how, in 2013, Credit Suisse bankers, Boustani, Chang, and several unnamed Mozambique government officials formed a scheme that made it appear that Mozambique and a state tuna fishery would be the benefactors of millions of dollars worth of loans from international investors, according to a Financial Times article

They said the money would be used for "coastal surveillance” for tuna fishing and shipyards.

However, Chang and the bankers allegedly created the maritime projects as fronts to enrich themselves and intentionally diverted portions of the loan proceeds to fund USD 200 million (EUR 175 million) in bribes and kickbacks, according to the indictment.

The loans were concealed from the International Monetary Fund and donors before they failed, and their collapse caused a financial crisis in Mozambique and the country’s eventual default on the debts, which are now being restructured, the Financial Times wrote.

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