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The legal defence team of Jean Boustani, the prime suspect in the United States investigation into Mozambique’s alleged ‘hidden debts’ corruption scheme, has been granted a hearing in New York’s Brooklyn Federal Court at 2:30 p.m. today (7:30 p.m. Lisbon time), a court source has told Lusa.
Jean Boustani, a US detainee, has pleaded not guilty to charges of handing over, as the intermediary for shipyard company Privinvest, tens of millions of dollars in bribes to Mozambican officials and bankers at Credit Suisse, among others.
His lawyers have insisted on his release on bail, a demand that has so far been turned down by the court.
The trial of the Lebanese citizen is scheduled for November 7, and today’s hearing comes after two other defendants, former Credit Suisse bankers, agreed to collaborate with the investigation.
Andrew Pearse, former director of Credit Suisse bank, and Detelina Subeva, former vice president of the same group, implicated Jean Boustani in the payment of bribes, according to the statements made to the courts in July and May respectively.
Pearse also implicated Iskandar Safa, the Lebanese millionaire who founded and heads the Privinvest group, saying he was aware of the scam.
The US accusation corroborates the story already reported in an audit and other reports: that between 2013 and 2014, during the term of Mozambican president Armando Guebuza, three state-owned companies were used to borrow US$2.2 billion from international investors for the alleged illicit enrichment of the defendants and these amounts are now owed by the state
Proindicus was supposed to carry out coastal surveillance, while Ematum would participate in tuna fishing and MAM would build and maintain shipyards, but the three concerns never operated as was intended, and the case exacerbated Mozambique’s financial crisis.
The U.S. courts opened the case against Jean Boustani in January, accusing seven other people of being involved in the corruption scheme that included money transfers into U.S. bank accounts and involved U.S. investors and investors from other countries.
Among those arrested Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang, who has been detained in South Africa since December at the request of U.S. authorities, and Maputo and Washington have requested his extradition.Source: Lusa