HIDDEN DEBTS: JUDGE LOOKS AT REAL ESTATE DEALINGS
Maputo, 2 Dec (AIM) – On Friday, the third day of the verdict in Mozambique’s “hidden debts” trial, attention switched to the range of shell companies and real estate dealings, used by senior figures in the Security and Intelligence Service (SISE) to disguise the bribes they were receiving from the Abu Dhabi based group Privinvest.
The main SISE figures facing charges of money laundering and other financial crimes are the former General Director of SISE, Gregorio Leao, and the former director of economic intelligence, Antonio Carlos do Rosario.
Judge Efigenio Baptista noted that, rather than take the bribes himself, Leao had used his wife, Angela Leao. She had worked through her friend, Fabiao Mabunda, whose building company, MMocambique Construcoes, received payments from Privinvest.
A contract was drawn up between MMocambique Construcoes and Privinvest. Mabunda said he did not even read the contract – he only signed it because he needed a document to justify to his bank the origin of the million dollars sent to the MMocambique account by Privinvest. The money needed to look legitimate, and not the product of money laundering.
Gregorio and Angela Leao, were in “constant contact” with senior Privinvest official Jean Boustani, and Baptista rejected the claim by the couple that they kept SISE activities completely separate from Angela’s business operations. “They always worked together”, said the judge.
As for Rosario, Baptista said he used a SISE “operational vehicle”, Txopela Investments, and legitimate building companies, such as Walid Construcoes, to channel money from Privinvest.
Much of the evidence against Rosario is based on his email correspondence. In court, he claimed that these email messages had been forged. But the people who sent the messages insisted they were genuine, and Rosario has not been able to show any proof of tampering with his computer.
The evidence against Leao, his wife, Mabunda and Rosario is extremely detailed. The prosecution has their bank records, and a mass of invoices, receipts and other documents on property dealings.
It is expected to take another two days for Baptista to read his verdict and sentence.