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Leather Firm’s Money Laundering Battle in Mauritius Unveiled



Leather Firm's Money Laundering Battle in Mauritius Unveiled

Zimbabwé-based leather firm, Eagle Italian Leather and Shoes company, has sought aid from the Supreme Court in Mauritius to recover millions of dollars that were reportedly unlawfully transferred from its bank accounts by under-fire former director, Li Song.

The company has enlisted barrister Sommand Kumar, who confirmed that the court application will be submitted early next week.

Eagle Italian shareholder Francesco Marconati recently accused workers at Zimbabwean financial institution Ecobank of producing forged documents to facilitate Li’s acquisition of cheap foreign currency at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s forex auction platform, which she then allegedly funneled to her offshore account in Mauritius.

Marconati claimed that his company suffered substantial financial losses due to this illicit operation, as Li established a company in Mauritius, Jacaranda Consulting Services, which she duped the RBZ into believing was a raw materials supplier for their leather business.

Eagle Italian Shoes and Leather Company is a supplier of leather materials to the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police, and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.

Kumar, the company’s lawyer, recently approached the Mauritian court and successfully obtained documents related to Jacaranda Consulting Services, where Li holds 10,000 shares and serves as the firm’s sole director. He also acquired documents concerning the company’s bank accounts and transactions.

Jacaranda Consulting Services is suspected of deceiving the RBZ by falsely claiming to supply raw materials to Zimbabwean security services, when in reality it was a conduit for transferring funds out of Zimbabwe.

Li’s ex-husband has filed a lawsuit against local courts, alleging that Ecobank and certain RBZ officials facilitated Li’s money laundering scheme. Marconati accused Li of improperly accessing his company’s 11 accounts at Ecobank and transferring large sums of money to Jacaranda Consulting Services’ bank account in Mauritius.

Marconati claimed that Jacaranda Consulting Mauritius was a fictitious entity used by Li to siphon and externalize funds via an elaborate scheme. He alleged that Li inflated prices on materials sourced from China through the company, profiting from the price discrepancy and exploiting the loopholes in the RBZ Auction system.

Marconati expressed confidence that Li orchestrated the scheme to exploit her position and capitalize on the weaknesses in the Zimbabwean financial system. The RBZ Financial Intelligence Unit is reportedly investigating the allegations of money laundering against Li, who is also a co-director of the company.

Concerns have been raised by the company’s other directors that local authorities are hesitant to apprehend Li due to her alleged connections to the ruling elite and security services sector in the country.

Source: The Standard

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