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New Zealander arrested in $3 billion international fraud loan scheme

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Saturday, 5 January 2019, 1:47PM
New Zealander Andrew Pearse is one of three former Credit Suisse bankers embroiled in the international fraud loan scheme. Photo / 123RF
New Zealander Andrew Pearse is one of three former Credit Suisse bankers embroiled in the international fraud loan scheme. Photo / 123RF

A New Zealander is one of three former Credit Suisse bankers embroiled in an international fraud loan scheme.

Andrew Pearse, 49, was arrested in London, charged by the United States for allegedly helping to arrange over US$2 billion (NZ$2.9 billion) in loans that were guaranteed by the government of Mozambique.

The loans were supposed to be used on maritime projects in the East African nation - which are now being described as nothing but a front.

The charges stem from an investigation of three companies created to complete projects for Mozambique that would provide "coastal surveillance," aid for tuna fishing and shipyards.

As part of the scheme, three companies were formed to borrow more than US$2 billion in loans guaranteed by the Mozambique government between 2013 and 2016, the indictment says. "The proceeds were supposed to be used exclusively for the maritime projects," it says.

"In reality," it adds, "the defendants created the maritime project as fronts to enrich themselves and intentionally diverted portions of the loan proceeds to pay at least US$200 million in bribes and kickbacks to themselves, Mozambican government officials and others."

Prosecutors allege at least US$200 million was used as bribes and kickbacks to the bankers, government officials and others.

Manuel Chang, the former finance minister of Mozambique, has also been charged in connection with the scheme. Prosecutors say Chang was arrested and detained in South Africa last week pending the outcome of an extradition request.

Also charged were former Credit Suisse bankers, Andrew Pearse, Surjan Singh and Detelina Subeva.

Mozambique's mission to the United Nations and defence lawyers had no immediate comment earlier this week.

The indictment reveals how the bankers allegedly worked to circumvent internal compliance rules in order to approve the loans.

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