Mozambique files case against Credit Suisse in London's High Court

Mozambique files case against Credit Suisse in London's High Court
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch in Winterthur, Switzerland November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -  Copyright  ARND WIEGMANN(Reuters)
By Reuters

JOHANNESBURG/MAPUTO (Reuters) – Mozambique has filed a case in London’s High Court against Credit Suisse, according to court records and a source in Mozambique’s Attorney General Office.

The global investment bank, three of its former employees, Andrew Pearse, Surjan Singh and Detelina Subeva, and an Abu Dhabi-based holding firm and its affiliates are all named in the filing.

The court records said the case related to “commercial contracts” but gave no further detail.

The global investment bank declined to comment. Reuters could not immediately reach lawyers for Pearse and Subeva by phone, and they did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. The firm representing Singh also could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokesman for Privinvest – the Abu Dhabi-based holding company named in the court papers – said the firm and its associates had not yet received notification of any filing, and therefore could not comment.

A source in Mozambique’s Attorney General Office confirmed the existence of the High Court lawsuit:

“We confirm that an action against Credit Suisse is underway in London. We will provide further details later,” the source told Reuters by phone.

Credit Suisse was one of the lenders that helped arrange $2 billion (1.5 billion pounds) in government-guaranteed loans that tipped Mozambique into a debt crisis that it is still struggling to recover from.

The International Monetary Fund and foreign donors cut off support when the loans were disclosed in 2016, triggering a currency collapse and a default on Mozambique’s sovereign debt.

Manuel Chang, the former Mozambique finance minister who signed off on the loans, has been detained in South Africa since December on charges related to the loans scandal. He denies any wrongdoing.

Britain’s finance industry watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, started looking at the bank’s involvement in the country in 2016. However it said in January it had dropped its probe.

(Reporting by Emma Rumney in Johannesburg and Manuel Mucari in Maputo; Additional reporting by Karin Strokecker in London; Editing by Mark Potter and Jon Boyle)

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