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Mozambique ex-finance minister denied bail in Novel York over $2 billion ‘tuna bond’ scandal

Mozambique’s ancient finance minister, Manuel Chang (pictured right here in 2019), has been deemed a flight threat.

Wikus De Wet | Afp | Getty Pictures

A U.S. federal mediate dominated that Mozambique’s ancient finance minister, Manuel Chang, need to remain leisurely bars while waiting for trial for fraud within the infamous “tuna bond” scandal which helped bankrupt the African nation and lead Credit rating Suisse to pay about half one billion dollars in criminal and civil penalties.

Chang, who regarded ragged strolling into court Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn, hoped to be out on bail after being imprisoned for merely about five years in South Africa while waiting for extradition.

Assert Nicholas Garaufis denied the defendant’s ask for bail, deeming Chang a flight threat. “He could per chance per chance peaceable novel himself to the Mozambique Mission to the UN on 55th Avenue in Ny and they would per chance per chance decide to harbor him and return him to Mozambique if they chose, correct?” the mediate asked Chang’s attorney, Adam Ford.

Ford answered “certain,” but proposed Chang keep on a “GPS ankle bracelet” and conform to stay in Brooklyn, thus stopping him from coming into the Mozambique Mission in Ny. As well, his client would post a $1 million non-public recognizance bond, secured by $100,000 cash, and resign his passport.

Prosecutor Hiral Mehta argued Chang changed into a flight threat because he has no ties to the US, faces as many as 55 years in prison if convicted, and is financially smartly off after allegedly receiving $5 million in bribes. Chang’s attorneys disputed that, pronouncing that though Chang does absorb $2 million in Mozambique, these funds are frozen. “He has no gather admission to to that money,” Ford instructed the mediate. Garaufis remained unconvinced and dominated “the utility for bail is denied.”

Mozambique’s ancient finance minister, Manuel Chang, changed into in court Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn.

CNBC’s Elizabeth Williams

Chang is one in all eight of us charged in an alleged conspiracy to loot hundreds of millions of greenbacks from $2 billion price of loans arranged for uncertain maritime projects, including a fleet of tuna fishing boats.

Prosecutors explain Chang bought three payments totaling $5 million in alternate for providing a government guarantee from Mozambique on the loans, arranged by Credit rating Suisse. When the loans defaulted, it ended in the country’s sovereign debt collapse, devastating the Mozambique economic system.

Chang pleaded no longer responsible to 3 charges of conspiracy associated to wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Hinting at his future defense, Chang’s attorney acknowledged that though his client’s signature is on the loan paperwork, it doesn’t stamp he knew about the fraud.

“He changed into required to stamp a doc because that changed into his aim within the government,” stated Ford.

Three Credit rating Suisse bankers beforehand pleaded responsible within the case.  A tuna boat govt changed into acquitted in 2019. The three final accused need to no longer in custody.

Chang faded a Portuguese interpreter all over the arraignment. When asked by the mediate if he spoke English, Chang answered in Portuguese “I gather no longer talk about, but I understand.”

Assert Garaufis answered “I am asking because I understand you absorb a master’s stage from the University of London.” Chang’s attorney acknowledged that given the importance of the complaints, it would be precious for his client to absorb an interpreter. The mediate agreed to the ask.

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