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Mozambique Debt Scandal- Vitali Fishman-Unanswered Questions

In our continuing series on the Credit Suisse-Mozambique scandal new information has surfaced about the Arms Dealer Vitali Fishman and the Lebanese based company Privinvest who’s Sales Director Jean Boustani was indicted by US Federal Prosecutors and then acquitted on all charges in a US Federal Court last December (2019). Privinvest, an Abu Dhabi registered company with offices in Beirut and vast business interests in Europe and the Persian Gulf is at the heart of the scandal that unfolded over the past few years.  The scandal revolves around unsecured loans totaling 2 Billion USD that were issued to different fraudulent state-owned companies in Mozambique.  In March this year Credit-Suisse launched a 622 Million USD law suit against Mozambique in a British court while at the same time the US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation of Credit-Suisse over the affair and Mozambique has officially declared the debts owed to Credit-Suisse as null and void. It’s an international scandal of immense proportions.

Vitali Fishman and Privinvest

In the annals of corrupt African horror stories this one is truly unbelievable, or as the Americans often like to say, ‘You can’t make this sh*t up!’.  Our previous articles focused on the main culprits in the case: Jean Boustani, Vitali Fishman and Privinvest, the company that was awarded shipbuilding  contracts from the Mozambique state-owned Tuna Company (Ematum) for 24 ships that were built but were not sea-worthy as well as the Mozambique state-owned fraudulent companies that were supposedly investment firms meant to promote economic growth- Proindicus and MAM.

In our last articles questions were raised as to why Jean Boustani was acquitted by a US Federal Court although there was ample evidence against him including emails between him and three former Credit-Suisse managers (who pled guilty in the court proceedings) detailing illegal payments made to senior Mozambique Government officials and Vitali Fishman who had close personal relationships with Former Mozambican Finance Minister, Manuel Chang.  Mr. Fishman is highly suspected of being the unnamed ‘Privinvest Co-Conspirator 1’  listed in the US Federal criminal indictments last year.

(Link to the official US Federal indictment: www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/file/1150716/download )

An investigation of Privinvest being carried out by our team of African Journalists has uncovered a web of dubious business dealings by Privinvest and several of its subsidiary companies in Europe.  At the top of Privinvest is its CEO and Founder, Iskandar Safa a French business tycoon of Lebanese origin and his brother Akram.  Jean Boustani runs Privinvest’s interests out of Beirut and oversees the company’s major shipbuilding operations, under several different companies in the UK, Germany and France (Privinvest is registered in Abu Dhabi).  It’s now a forgone conclusion that Vitali Fishman partnered with Mr. Boustani for the scam in Mozambique and that Privinvest has utilized Mr. Fishman’s services in other African and EU countries.

Why Vitali Fishman was not openly named in the original US criminal indictment and is only referred to as ‘Privinvest Co-Conspirator 1’  in the same indictment?

The questions now lurking in this affair now is why a US Federal Court did not convict Jean Boustani and why Vitali Fishman was not openly named in the original US criminal indictment and is only referred to as ‘Privinvest Co-Conspirator 1’  in the same indictment?  A closer look at Privinvest may give us an insight into Mr. Boustani’s and Mr. Fishman’s apparent ‘Teflon’ protection from the US Government.

Privinvest owns several companies that manufacture military war vessels on a major scale. Accumulatively these companies do Billions in USD providing warships for NATO and the French, German and British Ministries of Defense. In layman terms these company’s provide dry docks and warships to NATO’s top tier members in Europe and also provide sub-contracting services for large scale American corporations such as Bechtel, Raytheon and General Dynamics in the field of naval integrated warfare systems.  Our investigation revealed that Jean Bosutani used Vitali Fishman as a ‘Point Man’ for several Privinvest owned companies over the last 8 years and especially since 2018 when Lebanon’s political situation imploded. Mr. Boustani found it difficult to leave Lebanon and so he deployed his good friend Mr Fishman to close the gap.

Privinvest’s companies include:

  • Sir Joseph Isherwood Limited, based in Tyne and Wear North East region of England. A major supplier the British Ministry of Defense.
  • CMN Group, located in Cherbourg France. A major supplier the French Ministry of Defense.
  • German Naval Yards Kiel GmbH located in Kiel Germany. A major supplier the German Ministry of Defense.
  • Lindenau Werft GmbH located in Kiel Germany. A major supplier the German Ministry of Defense.
  • Nobiskrug GmbH located in Rendsburg Germany. A major supplier the German Ministry of Defense.
  • I. Dev SAL and FIMAS SA located in Monaco and Paris France. These companies own several multi-million dollar prime commercial and residential properties in Paris and Monaco.
  • This company owns ‘Hellenic Shipyards’ in Greece and ‘Abu Dhabi Mar’ Abu Dhabi MAR (ADM), a holding company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  PISB is a shipbuilding group with an international presence, and one of the leading shipbuilders in the Persian Gulf. PISB is a leader in surveillance systems, submarine construction and EEZ security.

(Link to Privinvest’s website that details its subsidiary companies-  www.privinvest.com/subsidiaries )

As we reported previously Vitali Fishman owned a British (now defunct) company, ‘Hardwell Limited’.  New revelations have shown that this company was involved in ‘Lobbying Efforts’ to secure contracts from the British Ministry of Defense in 2014.  (Link to ‘Hardwell Limited’ company registration-  https://www.nexok.co.uk/company/07895133/hardwell-limited/directors-secretaries).

As far back as 2002 Sir Joseph Isherwood Limited was awarded a contract for Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) for new Amphibious vessels for the Royal Navy.  Listed below are links to just some of contracts awarded to Sir Joseph Isherwood Limited by the UK Ministry of Defense over the past 20 years that detail literally millions in USD in awarded amounts to this Privinvest owned company.