Credit Suisse faces criminal complaint over Mozambique loan scandal

Pedro Gonçalves
Credit Suisse faces criminal complaint over Mozambique loan scandal

A Swiss anti-corruption lobby group has lodged a criminal complaint against Credit Suisse over  undeclared loans to Mozambique.

Credit Suisse was one of the lenders that helped arrange $2bn in government-guaranteed loans that tipped Mozambique into a debt crisis from which it is still struggling to recover. 

Credit Suisse's UK subsidiary was involved in the case. However, Public Eye, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) headquartered in Switzerland, wants the Swiss Attorney General to probe whether the banking group carried out its responsibility of effectively supervising its subsidiary in the matter.

With its criminal complaint, Public Eye is calling on the Office of the Attorney General to investigate"

"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," the pressure group said in a statement.

The Office of Attorney General, which previously said that no criminal proceedings had been opened in Switzerland, confirmed it had received the complaint and would review it to see whether it warranted opening a criminal case.

The move follows a lawsuit filed by the South African nation against the Zurich-based bank last month. Mozambique  also  filed a case in London high court against Credit Suisse over the case that is referred to as the "tuna bond" scandal.

The loans granted in 2013 and 2014 were marketed as investments in projects such as tuna-fishing boats.

However, a portion of the funds were allegedly used for military equipment. According to press revelations in 2016, Mozambique raised its public debt by taking these loans.

The loans resulted in a debt crisis in the country.

This triggered a financial meltdown in Mozambique, with donor countries such as Switzerland and the International Monetary Fund halting support soon after the revelation of the undisclosed loans.

Credit Suisse said it continued to cooperate with regulatory and enforcement authorities in connection with multiple investigations related to the Mozambique loans.

"Credit Suisse is not currently in a position to disclose details of those processes, given pending investigations," a spokesman for the bank in London told Reuters.

Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner said the Swiss bank didn't know of any wrong-doing by former employees, when he was asked about the scandal at the Swiss bank's shareholder meeting last week.

Three Credit Suisse bankers were charged in the case.


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