Mozambique: Hidden debts accord may foster confidence, problem still unresolved
File photo: Moscow Times
The Mozambican government is “checking the position” of Russian bank VTB, the lender to one of the state-owned companies in the ‘hidden debts’ case, before proceeding with any negotiations, Minister of Economy and Finance Adriano Maleiane said on Friday.
“It’s good to check what [VTB’s] position is in this situation before taking action, the same as for Proindicus,” Minister Maleiane has said.
The checks were requested following the US lawsuit which suggests the criminal involvement of government officials, former bankers and other defendants in the loans that Credit Suisse granted to state-owned companies Ematum and Proindicus’s fisheries and maritime security projects, which also included VTB-funded MAM.
“From what we read about this process, VTB is not showing up,” the minister said, adding that, “to be on the safe side”, he had told the Ministry’s advisers that “it would be good to check the position” of the Russian bank.
This is because “in the constitution and assembly of MAM there is no Credit Suisse: it is really VTB, with some banks. Some [of these banks are] even domestic and some foreign.”
The revelations about Ematum and Proindicus, he said, advised caution.
In April, Adriano Maleiane told Mozambican newspaper ‘A Verdade’ that the government had already reached agreement in principle with VTB to restructure the US$535 million debt of public company MAM.
This was the last of the three ‘hidden debts’ companies to be the subject of a government announcement.
In November 2018, the Mozambican government announced a preliminary agreement with the majority of Ematum Eurobond holders covering US$ 726.5 million, the final version of which would be announced in May. In February of this year it filed a lawsuit in London intended to write off the remaining US$ 600 million or so of Proindicus debt.
The US investigation maintains that, between 2013 and 2014, during the mandate of Armando Guebuza, Credit Suisse bankers collaborated with state officials and the Privinvest shipyard to create three companies which went on to accumulate loans worth US$2.2 billion from international investors.
These amounts allegedly benefited the accused, while the debts themselves fell to the state’s account.Source: Lusa