New Zealander arrested for alleged involvement in NZ$2.9b fraud scheme

New Zealander arrested for alleged involvement in NZ$2.9b fraud scheme
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A New Zealander is one of three former Credit Suisse bankers arrested over alleged involvement in an international fraud loan scheme.

Andrew Pearse, 49, was arrested in London, charged over allegations he helped arrange loans of up to US$2 billion (NZ$2.9 billion) through fraudulent companies in Mozambique.

The charges stemmed from an investigation of three companies.

The Associated Press (AP) reported the loans were meant to be used in a series of companies to carry out maritime projects in the East African nation.

These maritime projects included aid for tuna fishing and shipyards, in what was described as "coastal surveillance".

The AP reports that the companies were set up to borrow more than US$2 billion in loans guaranteed by the Mozambique government between 2013 and 2016.

"The proceeds were supposed to be used exclusively for maritime projects," said the indictment.

"In reality, the defendants created the maritime projects as fronts to enrich themselves and intentionally diverted portions for the loan proceeds to pay at least $200 million in bribes and kickbacks to themselves, Mozambican government officials and others."

One of the defendants is Manuel Chang, Mozambique's former minister of finance, who was arrested and detained in South Africa last week pending the outcome of an extradition request.