Good afternoon. Two long-running legal cases involving Mozambique have come to an end in the last few days. On Friday, mining giant Rio Tinto agreed to pay a $28m fine to the USA’s Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that it had misled investors in 2012 over the value of coal assets in Moatize; and today, news comes from London that Andrew Pearse and Surjan Singh, the Credit Suisse bankers at the centre of arranging the notorious “hidden debts”, have settled their disputes with shipbuilding firm Privinvest, having previously settled with Mozambique as part of the country’s settlement with Credit Suisse.
The two cases serve as a reminder that, for such a poor country, Mozambique can still serve to make certain people very rich. Rio Tinto managed to raise $5bn from investors off the back of the story it told about the Moatize coal basin. The transaction largely enriched the owners of Riversdale, the Australian company that sold Rio Tinto the mining projects for $3.7bn.
Pearse and Singh took millions of dollars worth of kickbacks for their role in arranging loans for Mozambique to buy offshore security technology from shipbuilding company Privinvest, in deals that totalled around $2bn. Both men pleaded guilty to financial crimes in the US, where they expect to be sentenced in early 2024.