By Kester Kenn Klomegah
Russia’s VTB Capital and Credit Suisse have agreed to pay fines to the United States and British authorities for their role in a business fraud, which has been known as the “hidden debts” scandal since 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique.
According to reports, after the final ruling on the case the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Credit Suisse has agreed to pay almost $475 million to the United States and British authorities “for fraudulently misleading investors and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Russia’s VTB Capital, currently under sanctions, will pay a $4 million penalty.
According to reports on the “hidden debts” scandal, many United States investors had lost money in what was described as a $2 billion loan scam involving two banks, Credit Suisse and Russia’s VTB bank. The secrecy and corruption surrounding the loans dealt devastating blows to Mozambique’s credibility and reputation. It was the Wall Street Journal that first revealed the hidden debt in April 2016.
The fraud and corruption involved millions of dollars in bribes to sign off on about $2.2 billion in loans from Credit Suisse and the Russian VTB bank to Mozambican government agencies to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol vessels in 2013 and 2014. It involved three security-linked Mozambican companies, Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).
The loans were only…