Mozambique Has 18 Defendants in Hidden-Debt Investigations

(Bloomberg) -- Mozambique’s attorney general said it has 18 suspects in an investigation into a $2 billion debt scandal in which three former Credit Suisse bankers and the country’s ex-finance minister have already been arrested.

The suspects are accused of crimes including abuse of office, embezzlement and money laundering, the attorney general said in an emailed statement Monday, without giving names.

The case, which centers on loans that the government contracted to finance a tuna-fishing fleet and coastal protection system, escalated in the past two weeks after the bankers and former finance minister were arrested on the U.S. Department of Justice warrants. They are accused of bribery and corruption of at least $200 million, according to the indictment.

“International experts were hired to assist the Mozambican public prosecutor’s office in assessing existing assets and in identifying and seizing assets illegally acquired by the defendants and related to the crimes in question,” the attorney general said.

It had made formal information requests to authorities in countries including the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and the U.S. but hasn’t received the answers sought, the attorney general said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.