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Court opens way to send ex-Mozambique minister to US trial

November 1, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019, file photo former Mozambican finance minister, Manuel Chang, appears in court in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. A South Africa court has Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, set aside an earlier decision to extradite Chang back to Mozambique, and he may now face extradition to the United Sates. (AP Photo/Phill Magakoe, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019, file photo former Mozambican finance minister, Manuel Chang, appears in court in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. A South Africa court has Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, set aside an earlier decision to extradite Chang back to Mozambique, and he may now face extradition to the United Sates. (AP Photo/Phill Magakoe, File)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang faces the prospect of being extradited to the United States to face trial after a South African court on Friday ruled against him being sent to his home country.

Chang’s fate is now with South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola after the court set aside his predecessor’s decision to extradite him to Mozambique. Lamola has asserted that the southern African nation has not shown seriousness in prosecuting him.

Chang was arrested in South Africa last year on the request of the U.S. government in relation to the scandal involving $2 billion worth of secret loans guaranteed by Mozambique’s government during his tenure from 2005 to 2015.

Companies set up by Mozambique’s secret services and defense ministry borrowed the $2 billion in secret to set up maritime projects that never materialized but allegedly enriched a range of local and foreign players.

The fallout affected some U.S. investors.

Mozambique is now trying to legally disavow part of the debt and restructure another part, which the country will be repaying for years to come.

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