Former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Andrew Pearse told a court in New York that he had accepted at least $45 million in bribes for his role in helping arrange controversial loans to Mozambique, Bloomberg News reported.
Pearse testified to the Brooklyn jury that at least four other bankers also accepted bribes related to the case from Lebanese shipbuilding firm Privinvest Holding SAL, which allegedly inflated prices for equipment and services for Mozambique to free up money for bribes, according to the report.
A U.S. prosecutor said Jean Boustani, a lead Privinvest salesman, was allegedly the mastermind of the alleged scheme, Reuters reported. Boustani's lawyer, however, told the jury that his client never communicated with investors and had no U.S. ties.
U.S. prosecutors in January charged three former Credit Suisse bankers — Pearse, Detelina Subeva and Surjan Singh — and former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang with fraud and money laundering in relation to the previously hidden $2 billion loans to Mozambique. The three bankers pleaded guilty to U.S. charges of fraud and money laundering related to the loans to three state-owned Mozambican companies in 2013 and 2014.
The loans funded a series of maritime projects, which the U.S. Department of Justice has alleged were a front for bribes. U.S. prosecutors said Mozambican government officials, corporate executives and investment bankers pocketed roughly $200 million, Bloomberg noted.