Chinese oil giant denies Africa bribery scheme after U.S. probe

Posted November 24, 2017

"In an global corruption scheme that spanned the globe, Chi Ping Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly conspired to bribe African government officials on behalf of a Chinese energy conglomerate", acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement.

"In an global corruption scheme that spanned the globe, Chi Ping Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly conspired to bribe African government officials on behalf of a Chinese energy conglomerate", acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement.

In a statement late Tuesday, CEFC China Energy Co. sought to distance itself from the corruption, money laundering and conspiracy charges filed against former Hong Kong home secretary Patrick Ho and Cheik Gadio, a former Senegal foreign minister.

Gadio, who served as foreign minister of Senegal from 2002 to 2009, was arrested in NY on Friday afternoon and presented to a federal magistrate Saturday. They said Ho is head of a non-governmental organization funded by an energy company.

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. 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. Prosecutors say the two arranged bribes to secure business advantages for an unnamed Shanghai-headquartered company in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Chad's president and Uganda's foreign minister were also offered gifts and promises of future benefits, including a share of profits generated by joint ventures between the energy company and businesses owned by the families of the foreign minister of Uganda and president of Chad, according to the criminal complaint.

"Wiring nearly 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".

According to the complaint, Ho and Gadio began plotting in 2014 when they met at the United Nations in NY.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said the scheme involved bribes at the "highest levels of the governments" of two nations.

The South China Morning Post reported on November 21 that although the company had not been identified, details point to China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC).

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

"Mr Ye was labelled China's "newest oil baron" by Forbes Magazine in 2016 after his company made a number of large investments in the Czech Republic".

CEFC China Energy has spread its business through Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Gulf states, rising in just a few years to be a major player in world oil markets and raising questions about its backing inside China.

The Chinese company that has of recent shown interest in Uganda is called Energy China, not China Energy.

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