VTB Capital: The Russian bank that took Mozambique for a ride

Open Secrets: Unaccountable

The people of Mozambique have been battered in recent times by devastating cyclones and an increasingly virulent armed insurgency in the north of the country. The backdrop is a country battling state capture. This involves a coterie of corrupt politicians, multinational corporations and international banks.

VTB Capital: The Russian bank that took Mozambique for a ride

In a previous instalment of Unaccountable we wrote about the role of Credit Suisse in the mega-looting in Mozambique. This week we turn our attention to the complicity of part Russian state-owned bank, VTB Capital.

In 2016, 14 donors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stopped all lending to Mozambique, plunging the country into an economic crisis. Mozambique’s currency plummeted in value by 70% and its annual GDP growth rate fell from 6.7% to 3.8%. All this stemmed from the country’s “secret tuna-bond” loans. These loans worth $2.2-billion (about R30-billion) were hidden from the IMF, Mozambique’s other lenders and donors, lawmakers and from the Mozambican public. With the help of corrupt, complicit and woefully inept bankers from Credit Suisse and VTB Capital, corrupt Mozambican politicians were able to orchestrate a mega-heist.

The Deal and its makers

Mozambique’s tuna-bond loans were issued in 2013 to fund three new state-owned companies – Ematum, ProIndicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) – purportedly as part of a project to create a tuna fishing fleet and other maritime infrastructure. Ematum was supposed to be a tuna-fishing company; ProIndicus a maritime security company; and MAM was created to facilitate maritime repair and maintenance.

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