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File photo: O País
The members of the New York federal court jury in the trial of Jean Boustani, the negotiator involved in Mozambique’s hidden debts, resumes its deliberations today after a one-week break.
Jean Boustani, a Lebanese citizen and Privinvest sales manager, is accused by the US government of conspiracy to launder money, electronic fraud and securities fraud. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, and said that all projects in Mozambique were solely for the protection of the coastal zone and the improvement of security conditions of a country that had “ natural wealth” and “great potential”.
Jean Boustani, the subject of an international arrest warrant who was extradited to the United States from the Dominican Republic, has been in pre-trial detention in Brooklyn since January 2 and on trial since October 15.
The United States government wanted try former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang and former Director of the Mozambican State Intelligence and Security Services António Carlos do Rosário in the same case.
Manuel Chang has been detained in South Africa since December 29, 2018 and faces extradition requests from both Mozambique and the United States. António do Rosário is in custody in Mozambique.
The Boustani trial began on October 15 at the Brooklyn federal court in New York, bringing together witnesses, US federal prosecutors, Jean Boustani’s attorneys, the jury, the judge and members of the public every day for six weeks.
Prosecution and defence arguments ended on November 21, shortly after Jean Boustani’s testimony, and the jury began deliberations the day after, following instructions from Judge William Kuntz II.
Twelve jurors, who were present during the nearly 30 days of trial, must now deliberate and reach a unanimous decision on the accused’s guilt or innocence on each of the counts.
Only after this verdict will Judge William Kuntz II announce the sentence.
Privinvest supplied vessels and coastal protection services to Mozambican state-owned companies Ematum, MAM and Proindicus, which borrowed millions of dollars with guarantees issued by the State of Mozambique.
After failing to make several payments failed, it was revealed in 2016 that the Mozambican state had debts of more than US$2.2 billion (€2 billion).
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