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British Judge Places Mozambique’s “Tuna Bonds” Scam Case For Trial

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A London judge ruled on Monday that Mozambique’s massive case against Credit Suisse and others over the $2 billion “tuna bonds” scam can go to trial despite claims the African country has not properly disclosed documents.

Three months prior to the Oct. 2 commencement of the London trial, High Court Judge Robin Knowles ruled that dismissing the intricate case, which involves 11 sets of processes, was not reasonable, necessary, or just.

He did, however, issue the following caution: “At trial, all alternatives, including to strike out and in whole or in part, remain available.”

The lawsuit relates back to 2013 and three deals between state-owned Mozambican firms and shipbuilder Privinvest, which were backed by an unnamed Mozambican government guarantees-initiative for the improvement of marine security and the fishing sector and partially financed by loans and bonds from Credit Suisse.

However, hundreds of millions of dollars vanished, and donors like the International Monetary Fund stopped their support after the state loan guarantees were made public in 2016. This led to a monetary and debt crisis.

When the judge ordered Mozambique to ensure access to pertinent documents housed in important state departments including the Office of the President and SISE, the state security service, he first hinted at the possibility of a strike-out in March.

A lack of “adequate” public disclosure, according to Credit Suisse, UAE-Lebanese Privinvest and others, endangered a fair trial.

According to English litigation regulations, each party is required to reveal the papers that they use to support their arguments, those that could undermine their arguments, and those that support the arguments of others.

According to a Credit Suisse representative, the firm “continues to defend itself” notwithstanding the judgement. Requests for feedback from Privinvest and a representative of the Mozambican finance ministry were not promptly entertained.

After receiving an emergency rescue in March, Swiss bank UBS is currently merging its cross-town competitor and its inherited legacy.

In spite of their claim that some papers cannot be divulged due to state secrets laws, Mozambique’s attorneys pleaded with the judge to allow the case to go forward since it involves “what is said to be an international fraud and corruption of public officials on a massive scale.”

In order to resolve allegations of bribery and fraud, Credit Suisse agreed to pay around $475 million to British and American authorities in 2021. In addition, it promised to cancel Mozambique’s debt of $200 million.

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