In recent court documents, Mozambican officials pointed to the trial currently underway as evidence that Mr. Chang will face the law in Maputo, the capital. In August this year, South Africa’s justice minister, Ronald Lamola, agreed to extradite Mr. Chang, partly on this argument to Mozambique.
An umbrella formation of civil society groups, the Fórum de Monitoria do Orçamento, was not persuaded. Believing that Mr. Chang’s political clout would shield him from the law in Mozambique, the organization approached the South African High Court to halt the decision to send Mr. Chang back to his country.
In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Margaret Victor said the Mozambican government had failed to assure the courts that Mr. Chang’s immunity as a former cabinet minister had indeed fallen away.
“There are material considerations about the warrant, the question over immunity, that leave uncertainty,” said the judge, overturning the South African minister’s decision to extradite Mr. Chang and ordering instead that he be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.
South Africa has struggled to weigh its legal obligations to the United States, with which it has an extradition treaty, and its close political ties with its neighbor Mozambique. The two countries’ governing parties, South Africa’s African National Congress and Mozambique’s Frelimo, have a fraternal bond that stretches to the struggle against apartheid and colonial rule.
Last month, a Brooklyn federal prosecutors reached a deal with Credit Suisse to pay up to $475 million in fines to authorities in the U.S. and the United Kingdom to resolve criminal and civil charges stemming from the scandal. Credit Suisse, as part of the deal, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in a deferred prosecution agreement. Three former Credit Suisse bankers pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation.
The Russian bank, VTB Capital, also reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank maintained in a statement that it had “no knowledge of or involvement in the corrupt kickback scheme hatched by Mozambican officials and others.”
In 2019, a U.S. jury acquitted the executive of the shipping company implicated in orchestrating the loans, Privinvest.
Matthew Goldstein contributed reporting from New York.