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Tuna bonds Credit Suisse faces complaint over Mozambique loan

Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner

Credit Suisse chairman Rohner said the Zurich-based bank was not aware of any wrong-doing in the tuna fleet affair.

(© Keystone/Ennio Leanza)

A non-governmental organisation in Switzerland has lodged a criminal complaint against the Credit Suisse bank over $1 billion (CHF1.02 billion) in loans to Mozambique that were allegedly undeclared.

The Public Eyeexternal link group said it was calling on the Swiss Attorney General to clarify if the Credit Suisse Group adequately supervised its subsidiary, fulfilling its duty to combat illegal activities.

The move, which was announced on Monday, comes nearly two months after Mozambique announced it will sue the Swiss bank in a London-based court.

For its part, the United States Department of Justice last December charged five suspects, including three Credit Suisse bankers, of corruption and money laundering in connection with the so called “tuna bond” affair.

The NGO accused the bank of issuing bonds in 2013 and 2014 to apparently revamp the fishing industry, including purchasing a tuna fishing fleet, which plunged the African country into a serious financial crisis. Mozambique defaulted last year after it surfaced that some funds allegedly went towards military equipment instead.

Credit Suisse has denied any wrongdoing in the scandal. The bank’s chairman Urs Rohner last week said the bank had no means of knowing about the activities of its London-based subsidiary.

Earlier this month, several other NGOs including Helvetas, Keesa, Solidar Suisse and Terre des Hommes sent a letter to Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam urging the bank to re-think its policy on loan repayments.

Critics say Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second biggest bank, has been trying to downplay its relations to the oil- and gas-rich African country.

swissinfo.ch/ug

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