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Mozambique’s Former Finance Minister Manuel Chang Extradited To US To Face Fraud Charges

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South Africa has extradited Manuel Chang, Mozambique’s former finance minister to the United States on Wednesday. South Africa took the decision as he was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Chang will face these charges in the United States for being allegedly involved in a $2 billion debt scandal, said the South African justice ministry. However, the former Mozambique minister has denied these charges. Since 2018, he had been detained in South Africa.

Mozambique had also asked for Chang’s extradition and fought with South Africa for his possession through courts and other legal options. In its last decision in May, the latter’s constitutional court refused to give Mozambique leave to appeal.

A statement from the Ministry of Justice said, “The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services confirms that the Republic of South Africa’s law enforcement agencies successfully surrendered Mr Manuel Chang to the United States of America on July 12, 2023.”

Chang’s prosecution in Brooklyn’s before US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis will take place on Thursday 23:30 (MUT). US charges against Mozambique’s former finance minister are linked with the loans that Mozambique government acquired from Credit Suisse and Russia’s VTB Bank and were signed off by Chang while he was the finance minister from 2005-2015.

After this, the entire money amounting to millions of dollars was never accounted for and the projects for which they were obtained were never implemented. US authorities claim that the loan was a fraud and the projects, in the name of which the money was borrowed, including tuna fishing, shipyard development and maritime security were a platform for money laundering and kickback scheme.

In 2016, the entire amount of loan taken from the banks came into light and that provoked lenders like International Monetary Fund to stop financially supporting Mozambique, resulting in fall of the currency and debt default.

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