25 Oct 2019
Former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Andrew Pearse’s seven days on the stand in the U.S. bribery trial of a salesman for shipbuilder Privinvest Group concluded with a blistering attack on his credibility.
Pearse is a key government witness against Jean Boustani, who’s accused of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks tied to $2 billion in loans to Mozambique-owned companies.
He told jurors that he took $45 million from Boustani to arrange the loans and shared the money with two of his colleagues: his paramour, Detelina Subeva, and Surjan Singh, his successor at the bank. Subeva and Singh have pleaded guilty and could testify at the trial.
Hoping to keep his affair with Subeva going, Pearse said he left Credit Suisse in September 2013 to set up Palomar Capital Advisors — a financial advisory business. Palomar was a partnership with Boustani and Privinvest’s Chief Executive Officer Iskandar Safa, Pearse said, with each owning a third.
However, Michael Schachter, a lawyer for Boustani, said his client had no stake in the company and confronted Pearse with documents that showed Pearse owned 33.3%, while Safa and Safa’s brother, Akram, owned 65.9%. Akram’s wife owned the rest, Schachter said.
“You testified more than 15 times during the course of your direct examination that Jean Boustani was either an owner or a partner in Palomar Capital Advisors, did you not?” Schachter asked Pearse.
“I don’t know the number of times, sir,” Pearse replied.
“And that was all false testimony, wasn’t it?” Schachter asked.
“It was the best of my understanding and belief,” Pearse said.
“You don’t see Mr. Boustani’s name on this ownership structure chart, do you?” the lawyer asked.
“I do not sir,” Pearse said.
By Patricia Hurtado, Bloomberg, 24 October 2019
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