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Former Mozambique finance minister extradited to the US

Former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang sits in court in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa, on Jan. 8, 2019   -  
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AP Photo


After nearly five years, former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang was extradited to the US on Wednesday to face a fraud and corruption trial over a $2 billion scandal involving fraudulent government loans.

Held in South Africa, Chang was finally handed over to US authorities after his last-ditch court effort to avoid extradition failed in May.

Chang is accused of receiving bribes of up to $17 million during a scheme that secured loans for Mozambican state-owned companies from foreign banks and financiers for maritime projects.

According to US prosecutors, the money was looted through kickbacks and other corrupt dealings.

The loans totalling $2 billion were intended for the purchase of fishing vessels and naval patrol boats and other resources to help Mozambique’s fishing industry, but it's alleged that never happened.

The scandal caused a financial crisis in Mozambique when the International Monetary Fund withdrew its support for the country after the so-called "hidden debts" were revealed in 2016.

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