Former Mozambican finance minister wanted in US awaits bail decision

accreditation
Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique, appears at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court. (Photo by Wikus De Wet,  AFP, file)
Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique, appears at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court. (Photo by Wikus De Wet, AFP, file)

Former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang's extradition case has been postponed in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court to February 26. 

This is to allow Magistrate Sagra Subroyen to first deliver judgment on the 63-year-old's bail application on February 15.

Chang, who served as the minister of finance between 2005 and 2015, was detained at OR Tambo International Airport on December 29, last year, while he was making his way to Dubai.

ALSO READ: Former Mozambique finance minister claims arrest at OR Tambo airport was unlawful

The arrest came after the United States requested a provisional arrest warrant over Chang's alleged involvement in financial crimes totaling $2bn (R27.8bn).

The US accuses Chang of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"I am pleased to say that we have received the relevant documentation on Monday and we are prepared to proceed with the merits of the case on February 26," State prosecutor Johan du Toit told the court.

This follows an investigation beginning in 2016, that revealed that, through a series of financial transactions between 2013 and 2016, Chang and his alleged co-conspirators had arranged more than US$2bn (R27.8bn) in fraudulent loans from international investment banks to state entities, purportedly controlled by the Mozambican government.

If the United State's application to extradite the former minister turns out to be successful, Chang could face a maximum of 45 years imprisonment for the alleged crimes.

ALSO READ: Arrested former Mozambican finance minister to continue fight against extradition to US

Chang will remain detained in a single cell until his next court appearance.

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