Finance fishing boats

Credit Suisse caught in tuna tangle

The fishing project plunged Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, into a financial crisis when it emerged that the deals involving three state-backed companies involved hidden debts and bribes. wine as well as revelations that military assets had been purchased using some of the loans.

Donors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut crucial financial support to the East African nation when they discovered the undisclosed debts in 2016. Three former Credit Suisse bankers involved in the loans have subsequently pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to violate anti-corruption laws and commit money laundering.

US prosecutors said the bankers had created “maritime projects as a front to raise money to get rich” and to “pay at least $ 200 million in bribes and bribes. wine to themselves, to Mozambican government officials and to others “.

A scandal that will not go away

But the eight-year-old scandal is far from over. The creditors involved in the loans believe they have been defrauded and are angry with the bank that helped organize the loans.

A London lawsuit against Credit Suisse will begin in September 2023, a trial date that comes as the ailing Swiss bank fights to save its reputation following a spy scandal and the implosion of its Greensill Capital clients and Archegos.

The resurgence of the tuna bond scandal couldn’t come at a worse time for the bank or its new chairman António Horta-Osório, the ex-boss of Lloyds who is fighting to reshuffle his culture. The American law firm behind the Mozambican case, Boies Schiller Flexner, is also preparing to file an American-style class action lawsuit against Credit Suisse for the losses suffered by investors in its Greensill funds.

Love and bribes

The bank has always insisted that the tuna bond scandal is about rogue employees. Andrew Pearse, one of the bankers who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, admitted receiving $ 45 million in bribes and told a US court how he negotiated a bottle of vodka in a hotel bar in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.

Credit Suisse was funding a deal between Mozambique and shipbuilder Privinvest, and the banker had love at the forefront of his mind when a conversation about bribes first arose by the pool. of the hotel. The plan was for Pearse to receive $ 5.5 million if he reduced the transaction fees Credit Suisse was charging by $ 11 million.

“I remember it very well because it was an important time in my life when it was the first time that I was offered a bribe,” he said in his testimony.

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