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In Mozambique Case Boustani Found Not Guilty By EDNY Jury As UN Guterres Corruption UNtouched

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT CEFC Video

FEDERAL COURTHOUS, Dec 2 – As international bribery scandals particularly in Portuguese speaking countries involving UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his family expand but are not acted on by US prosecutors, apparently due to immunity, their EDNY case against Jean Boustani regarding Mozambique resulted on December 2 in not guilty verdicts.

  Amid Guterres' cover-up of his role in Lisbon based Gulbenkian Foundation's attempted sale of its Partex Oil and Gas' operations in Angola and elsewhere, there's been this other case in Federal Court in New York City, this time in Brooklyn, with another UN bribery echo. Here's the (redacted) indictment. Now on December 2 an EDNY jury acquitted Boustani of three counts: conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering.   Boustani testified and admitted to making payments to officials in Mozambique but denied that he defrauded investors.  Credit Suisse's Global Financing Group's Andrew Pearse, Detelina Subeva and Surjan Singh pled guilty; Pearse and Singh testified for the prosecution at Boustani's trial.  Three former officials of Mozambique, including ex-Finance Minister Manuel Chang, are also charged in the case, as is Privinvest's chief financial officer, Najib Allam, but they have not made U.S. court appearances. Chang has been detained in South Africa pending possible extradition to the U.S.  The government was represented by Hiral D. Mehta and Mark E. Bini of the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, Sean W. O'Donnell and Margaret Moeser of DOJ's Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section as well as David M. Fuhr and Katherine Nielsen of DOJ's Fraud Section.  Boustani was represented by Randall Jackson, Michael S. Schachter, Casey E. Donnelly and Philip F. DiSanto of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Daniel Gitner of Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP.  The case is US v. Boustani et al., 18-cr-00681 (Kuntz).

Mozambique charged the former president's son and 19 others on corruption, fraud and blackmail in relation to a $2 billion dollar loan scandal.   In July, former Credit Suisse banker Andrew Pearse pled guilty in EDNY for accepting millions of dollars in a fraud scheme that led to the $2 billion Mozambique loan scandal and debt crisis in the East African country. Pearse and six others are accused of taking $200 million in kickbacks. US prosecutors argue that Credit Suisse and Russian-based VTB finance group hid secret loans by bribing bank and government officials. The loans were supposed to support the tuna fishing industry, but instead supported the outfitting of boats as military attack crafts.  Both the US and Mozambique governments also seek to prosecute and extradite former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang, currently detained in South Africa.

  Three former Credit Suisse bankers were arrested in London yesterday on US charges that they took part in a fraud scheme involving US$2 billion in loans to state-owned companies in Mozambique: Andrew Pearse, 49; Surjan Singh, 44; and Detelina Subeva, 37. The three were charged in an indictment in  the EDNY Brooklyn, New York federal court with conspiring to violate the FCPA and to commit money laundering and securities fraud, according to spokesperson John Marzulli. Former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang was arrested in South Africa as part of the same criminal case.  A fifth man, Jean Boustani, was arrested at New York's John F Kennedy Airport. Boustani is a Lebanese citizen who worked for the Abu Dhabi-based contractor of the Mozambican companies, Privinvest. Now Boustani is asking for the same conditions that UN briber Ng Lap Seng got - release into his own Guidepost "prison" where he would pay those who guard him. In Ng Lap Seng's case this meant closed door massages in a condo building on 47th Street and Second Avenue, right across from the UN Missions of the UK, France and others. Pay to play. We'll have more on this.  "The indictment alleges that the former employees worked to defeat the bank’s internal controls, acted out of a motive of personal profit, and sought to hide these activities from the bank," Credit Suisse said in a statement. When the guarantees were revealed in 2016, foreign donors, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), cut off support for Mozambique. Inner City Press inside the UN asked Mozambique diplomats about it - until it was roughed up and banned by Guterres. Meanwhile Guterres was refusing throughout 2018 to begin any UN audit into China Energy Fund Committee, implicated in the UN bribery prosecution US v Patrick Ho, Guterres had a secret: his role on the board of Gulbenkian Foundation which was trying to sell its Partex Oil affiliate to CEFC. See Inner City Press' first exclusive report here. Guterres' lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who evaded Inner City Press' questions on CEFC then had it roughed up and banned, also had a family connection to Gulbenkian, see below.

   Inner City Press is continuing its exclusive series on some of the CEFC connections in and through the UN that should have been identified in the audit that Guterres corruptly refused to begin, with his conflict of interest. (Even his predecessor Ban Ki-moon ordered an audit after Ng Lap Seng was indicted - Guterres still hasn't after Patrick Ho was convicted.)

  Guterres' - and Ban's - lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric has family links to Gulbenkian. Inner City Press asked Dujarric in writing to disclose these (no answer, and Stephane Dujarric blocks @InnerCityPress on Twitter), just as it asked him in person why CEFC wasn't being audited in March 2018, before Dujarric and Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up and banned, 180 days now. In March 2018 Gulbenkian Foundation was actively trying to sell its Partex Oil and Gas affiliate to CEFC China Energy. And here's Stephane Dujarric's Tokyo- and Temple-based brother Robert Dujarric praising and appearing at Gulbenkian - audio here, program here. We'll have more on this.

  One of the people identified in the Ban Ki-moon audit of Ng Lap Seng and South South News was Ion Botnaru. He was allowed to retire, after changing a UN General Assembly document along with then President of the General Assembly John Ashe, who died under indictment ostensibly crushed by his own barbell, to benefit Ng's Sun Kian Ip group. Botnaru reappears again with CEFC, here. And, crying out for audit, the President of the General Assembly who swore in Guterres, Peter Thomson of Fiji, traveled like Ashe and Vuk Jeremic and Sam Kutesa to meet CEFC's Ye Jianming in Hong Kong.

  Inner City Press has asked Guterres and his spokespeople, among many other questions, "Beyond the 37 questions from Inner City Press you refused to answer last week, still set forth below for promised answer, this is a request, given that Peter Thomson is the SG's rep on Oceans that you describe in detail Thomson's 2017 meeting with now disappeared Ye Jianming of CEFC, name which UN DSS officials were with him and what reports they filed, what their duties were; what was seen by those accompanying Thomson, at least two of whom are still in the UN (one is with China)."

  Typically, Guterres and his spokespeople did not answer. So here, pending listing those from UN Department of Safety and Security the group which roughs up the Press without accountability and maintains a retaliatory "lifetime" banned from the UN list, are the names: "During his two-day visit, the President of the UN General Assembly was accompanied by his senior advisors Abdelghani Merabet, and Zhang Yi, as well as by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’s Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Zhu Juwang." Now, Thomson staffer or embed Zhang Yi has gone (back, or more openly) to working for the Chinese government: "On August 14 [2018], Deputy Director-General of China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges Zhang Yi was invited to attend the FOCAC - Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, an important sub-forum under the FOCAC hosted by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and co-organized by the International Poverty Reduction Center in China and the China Belt and Road Institute for Agricultural Cooperation of China Agriculture University. Attending were more than 300 participants including government officials, international organizations’ representatives, non-governmental organizations’ officials, business leaders, experts and scholars from China, United States, Japan, Denmark and 40 African countries like Angola, Botswana and Mauritius."

  What did they see during Thomson's meeting with now-known briber Ye Jianming? Zhu Juwang  is still with UN DESA; Abdelghani Merabet  is with the current PGA. We'll have more on this: the UN should be answering these questions, now.

  In 2017, the year in which CEFC's Patrick Ho was indicted and arrested for UN bribery, CEFC in the UN engaged at least twice with Lenni Montiel, including for example on 6 July 2017, and also with DESA official Pingfan Hong. Some photos here. Inner City Press before Guterres had it roughed up and banned now 176 days for its inquiries into Guterres' corruption has politely questioned both Montiel and Hong - but Guterres has made that impossible and his Spokesmen refused to answer any written questions, for more than a week now. There are more connections.

  Guterres got favors from Peter Thomson when Thomson was President of the General Assembly. Rudimentary open source research - including on the UN's own website here - finds that Thomson, like implicated Sam Kutesa and John Ashe and Vuk Jeremic, visited CEFC's Ye Jianming in Hong Kong. What was discussed? Inner City Press previously covered, critically but civilly, Thomson. Now corrupt Guterres has had Inner City Press roughed up and banned 175 days, with his Spokesman Stephane Dujarric refusing to answer any questions despite the promise of Guterres' USG Alison Smale.

   After receiving favors from Thomson as PGA, Guterres gave him a job in his Secretariat, Representative on Oceans. Here is Patrick Ho, interviewed by Guterres' DESA, on Oceans. There should have been an audit. There still should be. Another of Guterres' special advisers, Jeffrey Sachs, after denying Inner City Press' documented report Sachs was on a UN - CEFC board, abruptly closed his Twitter account, story here. Guterres goes on robo-tweeting from parts unknown, spending public money undisclosed. Guterres should explain and / or resign.  We will have more in this series.

   A now-removed Gulbenkian Foundation web page says Guterres continued as a board member into 2018. Archived here. In fact it was on 9 February 2018 that Gulbenian tweeted that Guterres was no longer on the board - AFTER it was reported that Gulbenian was trying to sell, or even had already sold, Partex to CEFC. This is called guilty knowledge.

 While Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric is refusing to answer Inner City Press' written questions, contrary to promises by Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale, it appears Guterres' evasive defense is claiming that he left Gulbenkian in November 2016 and therefore somehow had no conflict of interest in refusing and blocking the obviously needed UN audit of CEFC after the arrest of its Patrick Ho for UN bribery. This defense is dubious.

  Why did Gulbenkian take down its webpage disclosing that Guterres remained on board into 2018? Why - sixteen months after Guterres ostensibly left - did they wait until February 2018 to tweet that he left? Because their negotiations with CEFC became public (see 2 February 2018 Bloomberg here, and 6 February MacauHub here: "CEFC China Energy buys Portugal’s Partex Oil & Gas.")

  In any event, Guterres' "2017" Financial Disclosure, which explicitly says it covered the year 2016 in which even in this new story he remained on Gulbenkian's board into November, more than 80% of the year - did not disclose his role in Gulbenkian, only on the Club of Madrid. Guterres has had previous financial disclosure omissions, for example in Portugal, here. CEFC was hardly unknown: it bought a Portuguese insurance company in November 2017, here.

    Guterres' failure to disclose and, separately and even more so, his refusal to audit CEFC in the UN was a direct conflict of interest, which he has tried to cover up by roughing up and banning Inner City Press which asked him about it. (See January 2018 press conference here, July 2018 roughing up by Guterres' UN Security here, banning letter via Press Freedom Tracker here.)

Three times now Dujarric, his deputy Farhan Haq and Office of the Spokesperson colleagues Marcia Soares Pinto and Keishamaza Rukikaire, as well as Guterres, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti and Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed have refused to answer this: "Beyond the 36 questions from Inner City Press you refused to answer last week, still set forth below for promised answer, this is a reiterated request past deadline that you (1) state when SG Guterres left his position on the Gulbenkian Foundation, (2) state why Gulbenkian was not listed on SG Guterres' public financial disclosure which covered 2016; (3) explain how it is not a conflict of interest for SG Guterres to have refused to start an audit of CEFC in the UN, as requested by Inner City Press in January 2018, given CEFC's bid for the oil business of Gulbenkian. Also, again, state why under SG Guterres there have been no updates to the UN public financial disclosures since those filed for 2016. Also, again, explain your refusal to answer any of Inner City Press' questions this week despite USG Smale's statements to GAP, me and UNSR David Kaye." No response at all, even as spokesman Dujarric for example tweets at actor Seth Rogin. Dujarric, as simply one example, on 1 March 2018 evaded Inner City Press' in-person questions about CEFC and Guterres, less than a month after Gulbenkian said Guterres was off the board, amid oil negotiations with CEFC. Video here. Then Guterres and Dujarric had Inner City Press roughed up and banned from the UN. Guterres' wife Catarina Vaz Pinto also worked for Gulbenkian. This is today's corrupt UN.

   For years Guterres received money as a board member of the Calouste Galbenkian Foundation, which despite its name is the 100% owner of Partex Oil and Gas. Partex has operations in Angola, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Oman and Portugal. It was to a Portuguese court that Guterres, while justifying no listing some of his income, disclosed in 2016 that he was paid at least € 2735 per month for his position with the Gulbenkian Foundation.

   But while a now deleted Foundation web page (archived here) stated that Guterres continued with Gulbenkian into 2018, Guterres did not list it on his most recent, and so far lone, UN Public Financial Disclosure, which covered 2016 ("Disclosing financial and other interests for the 2016 reporting year").

  So why did Guterres disclose his position with the Club of Madrid, but not with the Gulbenkian Foundation / Partex Oil and Gas? It is worth noting that Guterres' wife Catarina Vaz Pinto has also been connected to Gulbenkian.

   Following the roughing up and banning from the UN of Inner City Press which has covered the CEFC scandal throughout, Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale promised UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye, who asked, that the UN would still answer Inner City Press' written questions.

   But as 2018 came to a close Guterres' spokesmen Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq left unanswered 36 questions in a row from Inner City Press, including this: “Beyond the 35 questions from Inner City Press you refused to answer this week, this is a request on deadline that you (1) state when SG Guterres left his position on the Gulbenkian Foundation,

(2) state why Gulbenkian was not listed on SG Guterres' public financial disclosure which covered 2016;

(3) explain how it is not a conflict of interest for SG Guterres to have refused to start an audit of CEFC in the UN, as requested by Inner City Press in January 2018, given CEFC's bid for the oil business of Gulbenkian.

Also, again, state why under SG Guterres there have been no updates to the UN public financial disclosures since those filed for 2016. Also, again, explain your refusal to answer any of Inner City Press' questions this week despite USG Smale's statements to GAP, me and UNSR David Kaye. On deadline.”

   The question was also sent to the e-mail addresses of Guterres, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed, and Smale, who earlier in the week told Inner City Press she would take “under advisement” her 17 August 2018 pretextual withdrawal of Inner City Press decade long UN media accreditation.
  It seems clear that Guterres and his team have engaged in censorship for corruption, to conceal a blatant conflict of interest by Guterres. It has been raised by Inner City Press to the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, and others.  Watch this site.

Back on 5 December 2018 Patrick Ho was found guilty of seven of eight counts of violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and month laundering. (He was only not guilty on money laundering in Chad - where the bribe was not through any US bank but in cash, $2 million in a gift box). The evidence showed that the NGO he ran, China Energy Fund Committee, used its ongoing UN consultative status to pay bribes to Ugandan foreign minister - and Ashe's successor as President of the UN General Assembly -- Sam Kutesa.. He was working with precedessor Vuk Jeremic while Jeremic was UN PGA. CEFC even offered weapons, tanks and drones, to Chad's long time president Idriss Deby for oil blocks or a stake in the Chad Cameroon pipeline. (Inner City Press published documents here.)

The night of the verdict I asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres what he will do to clean up the UN, where he has left CEFC without any audit, still in consultative status with the UN. On his way from his Mercedes to a glitzy fundraiser including George and Amal Clooney, Guterres refused to answer. The next day when asked by another journalist why Guterres had refused to answer banned Inner City Press' question, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric claimed that the UN has “cooperated” with the prosecution. But the bribery group remains in the UN, unaudited.

Why has the case of US versus Ho, and now the guilty verdicts, garnered relatively so little interest, with the corruption of the UN exposed by it scarcely mentioned all? SG Guterres is hoping it goes away. In terms of corruption, he did not disclose and refuses to answer on the African business links of his son Pedro Guimarães e Melo De Oliveira Guterres. He refuses to answer how much he spends in public funds flying to his home in Lisbon at least sixteen times sofar as SG.

   So CEFC remains an accredited non governmental organization with the UN's Economic and Social Council, while investigative Inner City Press for which I have been covering the case has been dis-accredited by and ousted from the UN, put on a list of those permanently banned without notice, due process or appeal. On December 7 I was informed I am banned from a “UN Human Rights” event on December 10 to be addressed by Guterres and his human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet. But this reporting will not stop - Guterres' corruption of the UN must be addressed, through oversight or as is discussed elsewhere, impeachment. From the lofty goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Guterres' censorship for corruption is UNacceptable.

  With UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and her Deputy Andrew Gilmour set to speak in the UN on human rights day on December 10, Inner City Press responded to an invitation and was told, "Thank you for registering to attend the Human Rights Day event at the United Nations on Monday 10 December. On Monday, please come to the UN Visitors’ Gate on First Avenue opposite 45th street starting at 2pm, at which time entry passes will be distributed."

Then, past six p.m. on Friday, December 7 this from Bachelet's and Gilmour's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: "Dear Matthew, We have received notification from UN Security that your name was flagged as "BARRED" on the list we submitted for passes for Monday's event (3pm, ECOSOC Chamber). We will therefore not have a pass for you and are unable to facilitate entry.
Thank you for your interest and best regards,
OHCHR New York Office." Photo of email here.

   Inner City Press immediately wrote back, to the sender and Bachelet and her assistant, to Andrew Gilmour and to the moderator of the event, "Particularly since you are the UN Office of the High Commissioner for *Human Rights,* did you not ask why a journalist who asks the Secretary General and his spokesmen about the killings in Cameroon, Burundi, UN corruption, UN peacekeepers' sexual abuse of civilians, and Sri Lanka, is “BARRED” from attending your human rights event - without any hearing or appeal? I will appreciate your Office's answer to this."  We'll have more on this.

 Bachelet gave a speech on October 15 in the UN's Third Committee, she emphasized a prioritization of social and economic rights and said one of the officials of her office is "on mission in Silicon Valley" in the US. There are questions about this - but Inner City Press which has covered human rights and the UN for more than a decade was for the first time banned from access a High Commissioner's speech. This has been raised repeated to Bachelet since she took office but she has so far done nothing, not even responded. Meanwhile on October 12 Cameroon, from whose Paul Biya Secretary General Antonio Guterres took a golden statue and favors in the Fifth (Budget) Committee and remains silent on the slaughter of Anglophones, was elected to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. This system is failing - but if Bachelet cannot even answer on Guterres maintaining a secret banned list including not only Inner City Press but also "political activists" - and anti-corruption campaigners - then the UN of Guterres has hit its newest low.

***

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