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Hidden Debts: Manuel Chang’s Trial Set for July in New York

Hidden Debts: Manuel Chang’s Trial Set for July in New York

The US justice system has scheduled the trial of former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, accused of participating in the two billion dollar securities fraud scandal involving the Credit Suisse Group, for 29 July.

According to a publication by the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a new indictment against Manuel Chang, dated 21 December 2023. It states: “The trial is scheduled to begin on 29 July 2024 in Brooklyn, New York, in the same courtroom where Jean Boustani was tried in 2019.”

Chang denies all the charges and points to Filipe Nyusi, the current President of the Republic, as the main person responsible for contracting the hidden debts. In the meantime, at a preliminary hearing on 25 March, the judge in the case authorised the US government to search Manuel Chang’s mobile phone, which may bring new information that was not previously known.

However, the start of Chang’s trial, according to CIP, coincides with the electoral campaign period for the general elections in Mozambique. “At the moment, the prosecution (DOJ) and Chang’s defence, which is the law firm Ford O’Brien Landy LLP, are discussing preliminary issues known in US criminal law as Motions in Limine,” reads the publication.

Chang has been in prison in New York since July last year, after being extradited from South Africa.

The US indictment claims that the former ruler was part of a group of corrupt Mozambican leaders who conspired with bankers from Credit Suisse to secure a loan for maritime projects that ended up not materialising and increasing the public debt.

Chang was Mozambique’s finance minister under Armando Guebuza, between 2005 and 2010, and is said to have guaranteed debts of 2.7 billion dollars, secretly contracted in favour of Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum), ProIndicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM), public companies mentioned in the US indictment.

The mobilisation of the loans was organised by the Russian banks Credit Suisse and VTB and secretly authorised without the knowledge of Parliament and the Administrative Court.

MZNews

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