December 31, 2018 / 7:22 PM / 9 months ago

Mozambican ex-finance minister held in South Africa on U.S. charges: police

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Mozambique’s former finance minister, Manuel Chang, has been arrested in South Africa at the request of the United States, a police spokesman said on Monday.

Chang, who was in charge of Mozambique’s finances when it guaranteed $2 billion in secret borrowing by state-owned firms in 2013 and 2014, was arrested on Saturday in Johannesburg.

“He is wanted by the U.S.,” police spokesman Vish Naidoo said.

Mozambique’s state news agency said Chang, 63, was wanted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering.

It said the charges had nothing to do with the undisclosed borrowing, which prompted foreign donors including the International Monetary Fund to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and debt default.

Two years on from the disclosure of the loans, Mozambique is still battling to reduce a suffocating debt burden and restructure some of the debt.

Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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