Swiss group files criminal complaint against Credit Suisse over Mozambique loans

A Swiss anti-corruption advocacy group, Public Eye, has filed a criminal complaint against Credit Suisse over the alleged secret government-guaranteed loans to Mozambique, totalling $2 billion.

In 2016, Mozambique admitted to billions of dollars of undisclosed borrowing that sparked a debt crisis. By 2017, the country was considered insolvent and was effectively cut off from international credit lines

In relation to the secret government loans, three ex-Credit Suisse Group AG bankers, who helped arrange the secret loans were arrested after being charged with conspiring to violate anti-bribery law, commit money laundering and securities fraud by a United States District Court in New York. Former Mozambique Finance Minister, Manuel Chang was also arrested for guaranteeing the loans.

The U.S. discovered that the $2 billion government guaranteed loans went to fraudulent companies Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), and  Mozambique Asset Management (MAM), which were fronts that the men used to launder money. It alleges that at least $200 million was spent on bribes and kickbacks, including $12 million for Manuel Chang, who allegedly signed off the debt. Ndambi Guebuza is alleged to have received $9.7 million in bribes.

Public Eye, which focuses on financial crimes says it is filing a criminal complaint because it believes that Credit Suisse should be investigated in its home jurisdiction even though the transactions were facilitated by Credit Suisse’s United Kingdome subsidiary.

According to Public Eyes, “With its criminal complaint, Public Eye is calling on the Office of the Attorney General to investigate whether Credit Suisse Group AG fulfilled its corporate responsibility to oversee its subsidiary and prevent unlawful conduct as required of companies by the Swiss criminal code.”

Credit Suisse, on its part, stated that it cooperated with regulatory and enforcement authorities in connection with multiple investigations related to the Mozambique maritime transactions.