South Africa to Extradite Ex-Mozambican Minister to US on Fraud Charges

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FILE - Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 8, 2019.
FILE - Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 8, 2019.

A South African judge ruled Wednesday that former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang should be extradited to the United States to stand trial in a multibillion-dollar fraud case, media said.

Judge Margaret Victor from the High Court’s Guateng division rejected a request by South African Justice Minister to have him handed over to Mozambique, saying the court did not find the decision “rational,” the News24 website said.

Chrispin Phiri, the South African justice ministry’s spokesman, said in a statement that it would “study the written judgment as soon as it is made available and communicate a way forward in due course.”

Chang was arrested in Johannesburg in August 2018 at the request of the US. He is accused of taking part in a $2 billion fraud and money-laundering scheme which abused the US financial system.

The US Justice Department says Chang was one of the corrupt Mozambican officials who colluded between 2013 and 2016 to obtain secret maritime loans for the impoverished southeastern African nation, keeping more than $200 million in bribes and kickbacks.

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