Former Mozambican finance minister charged over $2 billion scandal

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Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique, appears at the Kempton Park Magistrates court to fight extradition to the United states on January 8 2019 in Kempton Park, South Africa. - Chang has received an indictment from the US department of justice detailing charges linked to three loans to Mozambican state companies, lawyer Rudi Krause said. (Photo by Wikus DE WET / AFP) (Photo credit should read WIKUS DE WET/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique, during a previous court appearance. (Photo credit WIKUS DE WET/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang faces charges for his alleged involvement in financial crimes totalling $2 billion money laundering and embezzling scheme that plunged Mozambique into a financial crisis.

Chang has been in custody in South Africa since his arrest in December 2018. Both Mozambique and the United States want to prosecute Chang for his role in the so-called ‘tuna bond scandal’.

The scandal emerged in 2016 after Mozambique reported previously undisclosed debts which resulted in a default on Eurobond payments.

Three former Credit Suisse Group AG bankers accused of working with Chang have already pleaded guilty to charges in the U.S. Chang, however, has denied any wrongdoing.

South Africa had cited the absence of formal charges in Mozambique as an issue blocking his extradition there.

In March last year, Mozambique made a competing extradition request, but charges were delayed until now. According to South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, a decision on where to send Chang is yet to be made.

Three unidentified former central-bank workers, also accused of abuse of office, have had charges filed against them by the Mozambican government in relation to the case.

About 20 suspects, among them the son of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and the former head of state security, have been charged and detained in Mozambique. They have denied wrongdoing and are yet to be tried.

Story compiled with assistance from Reuters and wire reports

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