Mozambique President Nyusi has immunity in ‘tuna bond’ case, court

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi is immune from legal action in Britain regarding accusations of receiving illicit payments in the country’s case against Credit Suisse and other parties involving the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal, as ruled by London’s High Court on Monday.

The “tuna bond” or “hidden debt” case has prompted criminal inquiries from Maputo to New York, along with a chain of interconnected lawsuits in London, implicating Credit Suisse, shipbuilder Privinvest, its proprietor Iskandar Safa, and numerous other parties.

Privinvest and Safa attempted to involve Nyusi in the case, contending that he should share responsibility for potential damages they might be instructed to pay if found accountable in the Mozambique matter.

Their lawsuit against Nyusi centered on alleged payments of $11 million, which Privinvest asserted were made in 2014 to support Nyusi’s successful presidential bid and the election campaign of his ruling Frelimo party.

Privinvest and Safa contended that if the payments were determined to be unlawful and they were held accountable to Mozambique, then Nyusi should also bear responsibility to them.

However, Judge Robin Knowles said in a written ruling on Monday that Nyusi “has immunity from the jurisdiction of this court whilst he is head of state of the republic”.

This ruling precedes a lengthy trial scheduled to commence on October 3, during which Mozambique will pursue the annulment of a sovereign guarantee on a loan it asserts was obtained through corrupt means. Additionally, they aim to secure compensation for other alleged misconduct.

The protracted dispute centers around three agreements involving state-owned enterprises and Privinvest, ostensibly intended for the development of Mozambique’s fishing industry and maritime security.

These agreements were partially financed by loans and bonds from Credit Suisse, which has since been acquired by UBS, and were supported by undisclosed guarantees from the Mozambican government.

However, hundreds of millions of dollars disappeared, and when the state loan guarantees were revealed to the public in 2016, it led to the suspension of support from donors like the International Monetary Fund. This event triggered a currency devaluation, a debt crisis, and years of legal disputes.

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