A Lebanese shipbuilding executive arrested in NY over $2 billion fraud deal

FILE PHOTO: Jean Boustany (L)   is shown with the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary Council Dr.Ali Mohamed Shein at his palace in Zanzibar
FILE PHOTO: Jean Boustany (L) is shown with the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary Council Dr.Ali Mohamed Shein at his palace in Zanzibar
A Lebanese executive for a regional shipbuilding company has been arrested in New York over a $2 billion fraud linked to state-funded maritime projects in Mozambique, US prosecutors said.

Jean Boustany, the top salesman for Privinvest, was arrested on Wednesday at New York’s John F Kennedy airport.

He is accused of paying kickbacks to the former finance minister of Mozambique, Manuel Chang, and three former Credit Suisse Group bankers after winning secret contracts for fishing, dock and maritime protection projects for the African nation.

The deals – not disclosed to the International Monetary Fund which was supporting the southern African nation – led to the organisation cutting off support and plunging it into a debt crisis.

The bankers were arrested in London on Thursday based on US charges that they pushed through loans to Privinvest , which is registered in the UAE, for three maritime projects.

US prosecutors say the projects never got off the ground and were fronts for the defendants to distribute some $200 million in bribes and kickbacks to themselves and Mozambique government officials.

The bankers Andrew Pearse, 49; Surjan Singh, 44; and Detelina Subeva, 37, have been charged in a New York court with violating US bribery laws, securities fraud and money laundering.

THE NATIONAL