Mozambican president sued in UK over $ 2 billion debt scandal

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LONDON – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi is being sued in London by a company at the center of a $ 2 billion loan scandal that has plunged his country into financial crisis.

Abu Dhabi-based shipbuilder Privinvest, owned by Franco-Lebanese billionaire Iskandar Safa, has signed contracts with Mozambican state-owned companies for the supply of tuna fishing and maritime safety vessels.

To finance the deal, the government took out secret loans in 2013 and 2014 equivalent to 12% of the gross domestic product of one of the world’s poorest countries.

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Much of the money disappeared in the form of bribes and bribes, and the country subsequently defaulted on repayment.

The deals were made before Nyusi’s election and Privinvest denied bribery to win the contracts, arguing that its payments were political donations that were legal in Mozambique at the time.

“Privinvest confirms that on October 19, 2021, President Nyusi was served in Mozambique with Privinvest’s legal actions in the High Court in London against him,” the company said in a statement to AFP on Thursday.

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The papers were served in Maputo at Nyusi’s office and at the presidential palace.

The company said its claims against Nyusi “relate to payments made to his benefit, notably to finance his 2014 presidential election campaign, and given that he was central to the creation and subsequent sabotage of the projects in Mozambique.”

The debt scandal has sparked lawsuits on three continents and exposed corruption globally.

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On the same day, Privinvest served his papers on Nyusi, the Swiss bank Credit Suisse was fined $ 475 million for “fraudulent investors in error” and bribery for its part in granting the loans.

Nyusi was Minister of Defense when the loans were taken out.

Mozambique’s ruling party, Frelimo, denied earlier this year that Nyusi was guilty of any wrongdoing.

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