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Former Foreign Minister of Senegal Arrested in New York, Charged with Bribing High-Level African Officials

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations.  All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

NEW YORK – Chi Ping Patrick Ho aka Patrick C.P. Ho, 68, of Hong Kong, China, and Cheikh Gadio, 61, of Senegal, are each charged with conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), violating the FCPA, conspiring to commit international money laundering, and committing international money laundering.  Gadio was arrested in New York on Friday afternoon and presented on Saturday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox.  Ho was arrested on Saturday afternoon and was presented on Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck and ordered detained.

The criminal complaint was unsealed on Monday charging the head of an NGO based in Hong Kong and Virginia and the former Foreign Minister of Senegal with participating in a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe high-level officials in Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for a Chinese oil and gas company in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Offer $2 million bribe to the President of Chad

The complaint alleges that Ho, with Gadio’s assistance, caused the Energy Company to offer a $2 million bribe to the President of Chad in exchange for securing business advantages for the Energy Company in its efforts to obtain valuable oil rights from the Chadian government.  In particular, in exchange for the bribe, the President of Chad provided the Energy Company with, among other things, an exclusive opportunity to obtain particular oil rights in Chad without facing international competition.  Gadio, who is the former Foreign Minister of Senegal and who operated an international consulting firm, is alleged to have played an instrumental role in the scheme by, among other things, connecting Ho with the President of Chad and conveying the $2 million bribe offer to the President of Chad.  Ho allegedly compensated Gadio by paying him $400,000 via wires transmitted through New York, New York.

Idriss Deby – President of Chad since 1990

“This alleged scheme involved bribes at the highest levels of the governments of two nations,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco.  “The Criminal Division is committed to investigating and prosecuting corrupt individuals who put at risk a level playing field for corporate competitiveness, regardless of where they live or work.  Their bribes and corrupt acts hurt our economy and undermine confidence in the free marketplace.”

“In an international 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,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kim.  “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.  As alleged, Ho’s Ugandan scheme was hatched in the halls of the United Nations in New York, when the country’s current Foreign Minister served as the President of the U.N. General Assembly, and then continued unabated upon his return to Uganda.  International bribery not only harms legitimate businesses and fair competition, but it also destroys public faith in the integrity of government.  And when this type of international corruption and bribery touches our shores and our financial system, as the alleged schemes did, federal criminal charges in an American court may very well be the end result.”

“The scheme described in this case boils down to these subjects allegedly trying to get their hands on the rights to lucrative opportunities in Africa,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “They were allegedly willing to throw money at the leaders of two countries to bypass the normal course of business, but didn’t realize that using the U.S. banking system would be their undoing.  The FBI, our partners in the IRS and the law enforcement community work diligently day after day to protect the integrity of our financial institutions, and stop foreign entities corrupting international commerce.”

“IRS Criminal Investigation operates worldwide and has the expertise to identify bribery schemes such as alleged in the criminal complaint,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Robnett. “Our special agents are especially skilled at piecing together these financial puzzles, even those that involve such high level participants.”

“These individuals allegedly offered millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials, disguised as charitable donations, in order to seek business advantages,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Melendez.  “One used his position with a United Nations Council to further this scheme.  We will continue to aggressively investigate financial crimes committed by corrupt foreign officials while working collaboratively with our counterparts at the FBI and IRS.”

Cheikh Gadio of Senegal

It is further alleged that Ho caused a $500,000 bribe to be paid, via wires transmitted through New York, New York, to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly (the “Ugandan Foreign Minister”).  Ho also allegedly provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda, with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to share the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and businesses owned by the families of the Ugandan Foreign Minister and the President of Uganda.  These payments and promises were allegedly made in exchange for assistance from the Ugandan Foreign Minister in obtaining business advantages for the Energy Company, including the potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank.

Globe Afrique reports on corruption and charges of corruption by African leaders in Africa and around the world.

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Paul Goldstein

PAUL F. GOLDSTEIN is an avid blogger and investigator in a U.S. based firm probing foreign corruption. Paul investigations focus on foreign corruption, white collar matters, insider trading and securities law. Paul has successfully advised foreign individuals in a wide range of enforcement matters including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.S. Immigration violations.

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