MAPUTO Dec 28 The U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission is investigating the sale of $850 million in bonds
issued by Mozambique by Credit Suisse, Russia's VTB Group and
BNP Paribas, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The southern African nation in October said its debt was
unsustainable and the International Monetary Fund suspended
assistance to Mozambique when evidence of $2 billion in secret
The bonds were sold in 2013 to finance a Mozambican
state-owned firm's plans to develop tuna fishing in the
impoverished nation, but the government later said it had also
bought military equipment with the funds.
The SEC in November asked bondholders for documents provided
by Credit Suisse, VTB and BNP Paribas during the sale of the
bonds, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a letter sent to
The letter also asked investors to share with the SEC all
communications with the banks related to the bonds.
The SEC declined to comment to both the WSJ and Reuters.
Mozambique's Ministry of Finance did not respond to Reuters
requests for comment.
No one was immediately available to comment at BNP Paribas
or Credit Suisse about the U.S. investigation.
Financial watchdogs from Switzerland and Britain are also
looking into Credit Suisse's and VTB's involvement.
There was no immediate comment from VTB on Wednesday but in
June, when the Swiss and British authorities became involved,
VTB said it had been open and transparent with the regulator on
the Mozambique transaction. Credit Suisse declined comment then.
Mozambique's state news agency said on Wednesday the country
would pay government employees only half their annual bonus.
(Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Additional reporting by Maya
Nikolaeva in Paris and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich; Writing by TJ
Strydom; Editing by Alison Williams)