ZURICH, July 4 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s financial watchdog FINMA remains in touch with Credit Suisse over its role in arranging loans for Mozambique state-owned companies, a spokesman for the regulator said on Tuesday, after an independent report concluded it was unclear how the money had been spent.
Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, and Russian lender VTB have come under scrutiny after negotiating loans totalling some $2 billion with three firms owned by Mozambique - one of the poorest countries in the world.
Discovery of the loans to tuna fishing company EMATUM, security firm Proindicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) led the International Monetary Fund and Western donors to halt support for Mozambique, triggering the collapse of its currency and leading to a default on debt.
In an audit released last month, risk management firm Kroll Inc said officials in the southern African country had given inconsistent answers about how $500 million earmarked for the tuna fishing company had been spent.
It also showed Credit Suisse and VTB Capital were paid a total of $199.7 million in fees.
Credit Suisse disputed the report’s findings, saying banking fees charged to arrange loans for Mozambique’s state-owned companies amounted to $23 million.
FINMA, Credit Suisse’s main supervisory body, first said last year that it had spoken to the bank about the issue.
On Tuesday a spokesman said it was still in discussion with Credit Suisse over the matter, following the release of the audit report.
Credit Suisse declined to comment. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Alexander Smith, Greg Mahlich)