Credit Suisse and Mozambique secure out-of-court ‘tuna bond’ settlement
UBS will forgive part of a loan that Credit Suisse made to Mozambique in 2013
Zurich — Credit Suisse has reached an 11th-hour out-of-court settlement with Mozambique over the $1.5bn-plus “tuna bond” scandal, which is a decade-old, the Swiss bank’s new owner UBS said on Sunday, drawing a line under a damaging dispute it inherited.
“The parties have mutually released each other from any liabilities and claims relating to the transactions,” UBS said in a statement. “The parties are pleased to have resolved this long-running dispute,” it added without giving further details.
Under the deal, struck one day before a three-month London civil trial was due to start, UBS will forgive part of a loan that Credit Suisse made to Mozambique in 2013, representing less than $100m, said one source familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because the terms are not public.
The deal also included most of the creditors involved in funding a 2013 loan to ProIndicus, a state-owned Mozambican company, UBS said.
The Mozambican attorney-general’s office and ministry of economy & finance said they were calling a joint news conference for Monday in Maputo.
The tuna bond case dates back to three deals between state-owned Mozambican companies and shipbuilder Privinvest — funded in part by loans and bonds from Credit Suisse and backed by undisclosed Mozambican government guarantees.
Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, wanted to revoke a sovereign guarantee on a loan it alleges was corruptly procured and secure compensation for other alleged wrongdoing.
UBS, which rescued scandal-scarred Credit Suisse amid turmoil in the global banking sector earlier in 2023, has a financial buffer of as much as $10bn for litigation, JPMorgan analysts estimated in a note to clients on Wednesday.
The banking giant has pledged to resolve Credit Suisse’s legacy legal disputes. Since completing the mega merger on June 12, it has paid $388m to US and British regulators over dealings with collapsed private investment firm Archegos Capital Management and settled a dispute with a finance blog.
The settlement leaves French shipping mogul Iskandar Safa and his Privinvest group the key remaining defendants in a high court battle over the funding and shipping deals that pitched Mozambique into economic crisis and triggered US and Mozambican criminal proceedings.
Privinvest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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