U.S. Justice Department uncovers bribes for oil contracts in Chad

Here is how how China Energy Fund Committee guided a Chinese oil and gas company to secure lucrative contracts in Chad.

In a development that underscores the methods used to gain contracts, the U.S. has charged a man from Hong Kong as well as the former foreign minister from Senegalese for bribing high-level officials in Uganda and Chad for gaining lucrative contracts for a Chinese oil and gas company.

Chi Ping Patrick Ho, 68, of Hong Kong, and Cheikh Gadio, 61, were charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, international money laundering and conspiracy, said the Justice Department in a statement.

The announcement follows the arrest of Gadio, a former foreign minister of Senegal, who was in New York on Friday. Ho, who heads a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kong and Virginia, was arrested on Saturday.

The Justice Department did not name the Chinese company.

“Wiring almost a million dollars through New York’s banking system in furtherance of their corrupt schemes, the defendants allegedly sought to generate business through bribes paid to the president of Chad and the Ugandan foreign minister,” Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Ed Kim from Krieger Kim & Lewin LLP, Ho’s attorney, declined to comment.

Bob Baum of Federal Defenders, who represented Gadio for the bail argument, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the Justice Department a bribe of $2 million was paid to Chad’s president, who then provided the Chinese company with an opportunity to obtain oil rights in Chad without international competition. Gadio was the go-between and was paid $400,000 by Ho via wire transfers through New York.

The Justice Department has accused Ho of being involved with bribes and promises of future benefits to Uganda’s foreign minister in exchange for help in obtaining business advantages for the Chinese company.

Ho is the secretary general of China Energy Fund Committee, which describes itself on its website as “a think-tank registered and anchored in Hong Kong, devoted to public diplomacy, with special emphasis on energy and culture.”

China Energy Fund Committee did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

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