UBS Group AG and French shipping tycoon are set to face a civil claim of around $1.5 billion stemming from Credit Suisse’s role in a fundraising scandal in Mozambique, the UK’s top judges said, the first time a court has put a figure on the size of the suit.
(Bloomberg) — UBS Group AG and French shipping tycoon are set to face a civil claim of around $1.5 billion stemming from Credit Suisse’s role in a fundraising scandal in Mozambique, the UK’s top judges said, the first time a court has put a figure on the size of the suit.
The bank and a shipbuilder owned by billionaire Iskandar Safa are gearing up to defend themselves in a civil trial due to start early next month in London over the government-guaranteed loans in the so-called “tuna bond” case. The scandal saw hundreds of millions looted from Mozambique and tipped the southern African nation into economic crisis.
The Mozambican government’s claim is now worth around $1.5 billion, including more than $1 billion in lost international grants, the UK Supreme Court said in a ruling Wednesday. The court declared that shipbuilder Privinvest couldn’t rely on arbitration agreements to postpone the London suit.
The impending trial is set to consider allegations that the Swiss bank, which was bought by rival UBS in June, ignored red flags and turned a blind eye to the corruption of its own bankers in deals struck a decade ago that were intended to fund a new coastal patrol force and tuna fishing fleet. The case triggered criminal investigations across the world with Credit Suisse agreeing in 2021 to pay almost $475 million to authorities.
Read more: UBS Inherits Legacy of Legal Headaches From Credit Suisse
“The judgment of the Supreme Court validates the Republic’s decision to bring proceedings against Privinvest and Mr. Safa in a public forum,” said Keith Oliver, a lawyer for Mozambique. Spokespeople for UBS and Privinvest couldn’t immediately comment.
Credit Suisse had unsuccessfully sought to block the trial after saying that Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and his security service failed to disclose documents that were crucial for a fair trial. Earlier this month, Nyusi received immunity from any allegations he was involved in the conspiracy at the heart of multibillion dollar fishing-boat scandal, in a setback for the bank.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.