Ex Senegal Minister; Hong Kong Businessman Charged with Bribery

Ex Senegal Minister; Hong Kong Businessman Charged with Bribery

Ex Senegal Minister; Hong Kong Businessman Charged with Bribery

A Chinese energy company has denied it had anything to do with a multimillion dollar bribery scheme that USA prosecutors say was organized by two businessmen to secure business from African officials on its behalf.

Ho was charged alongside former Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Gadio over an alleged multimillion-dollar bribery scheme targeting top officials from Uganda and Chad in return for benefits to a top Chinese energy firm he was representing.

The United States Justice Department has arrested Hong Kong's former home affairs secretary and the ex-foreign minister of Senegal on charges of bribing high-profile officials in Uganda and Chad to help a Chinese oil and gas company land important contracts.

The company was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in NY federal district court.

Now, with CEFC China Energy seemingly benefitting from these bribery deals, one can not help but wonder about the impact that the investigation may have on the ambitious OBOR initiative.

The justice department alleged that Mr Ho set up both bribery schemes and enlisted the assistance of Mr Gadio, who it said "had a personal relationship with the President of Chad".

In the second scheme, Ho allegedly transferred a US$ 500,000 bribe to the Ugandan Foreign Minister's bank account, shortly after the later finished his term as president of the UN General Assembly.

CEFC China Energy Company Limited is "a private collective enterprise with energy and financial serves as its core business", according to its website.

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The criminal complaint does not name the non-profit or the Chinese company behind it.

The statement said the fund was established to "promote worldwide energy research, conduct public diplomacy, and facilitate global energy cooperation and cultural exchange". CEFC said the fund has "no commercial authorization relationship whatsoever with the company". CEFC said it "conducts its business activities in strict accordance with the law" and that "any activities that go against the law and discipline are strictly prohibited by the company".

The statement did not mention Gadio. CEFC is widely seen as a kind of mysterious company that has close ties to the Chinese government and plays a key part in President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road worldwide expansion plan, according to observers.

The report comes on the heels of reports the U.S Attorney's Office Southern District of NY receiving a complaint against Mr Ho for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Sweeney Jr., head of New York's Federal Bureau of Investigation office, said Ho and Gadio wanted to "get their hands on the rights to lucrative opportunities in Africa".

Ho, who was a member of the Hong Kong government from 2002 to 2007, has been remanded in custody and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

Gadio was Senegal's foreign minister from 2000 to 2009.

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