Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, a one-time foreign minister of Senegal and Chi Ping Patrick Ho, Hong Kong’s former Home Secretary have been arrested in the US amid allegations that they plotted to bribe high-level African officials to secure business rights for a Shanghai-based energy and financial conglomerate.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed by U.S. prosecutors on Monday, Ho and Gadio engaged in a multi-year scheme to bribe Chadain President Edriss Deby and a former Ugandan foreign Minister Sam Kutesa in exchange for “business advantages” for the energy company, a multibillion-dollar Chinese company that operates in the oil-and-gas and financial sectors.
Ho was arrested Saturday afternoon and appeared before a federal magistrate Monday, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Gadio, who served as foreign minister of Senegal from 2002 to 2009, was arrested in New York on Friday afternoon and presented to a federal magistrate Saturday. Both remain in federal custody.
The two men are charged with criminal bribery in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and international money laundering.
According to the complaint, Ho and Gadio began plotting in 2014 when they met at the United Nations in New York. At the time, Gadio ran a consulting firm while Ho headed a non-profit that received funding by the energy company.
On 19 October 2014, Ho met Kutesa at the United Nations. Kutesa had just begun his one-year term as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
A month later, Gadio allegedly advised Ho to “reward” the Chadian president with “a nice financial package.”
Two months later, Ho pledged a $2 million bribe to Deby on behalf of th e energy company in exchange for obtaining lucrative oil rights from the Chadian government.
In exchange, Deby is alleged to have provided the energy company with “an exclusive” opportunity to obtain particular oil rights in Chad without facing international competition, according to the criminal complaint.
Gadio is alleged to have connected Ho with Deby and conveyed the $2 million bribe offer to Deby.
Ho is alleged to have paid Deby $400,000 for his services via wire transfers transmitted through New York.
In addition, the criminal complaint alleges, Ho paid a $500,000 bribe to Kutesa, the Ugandan foreign minister, in exchange for obtaining “business advantages” for the energy company, including the potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank.