Former Senegalese top diplomat Cheikh Gadio and Hong Kong's Patrick Chi Ping Ho are accused of sending huge bribes to high-level officials in Chad and Uganda to secure business advantages for a Chinese company.
Chi-Ping Patrick Ho of Hong Kong was arrested on Saturday, while Cheikh Gadio, the former foreign minister of Senegal, was arrested in NY on Friday. The charges, of violating money laundering legislation and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, could result in jail sentences of up to 20 years.
On its official website, CEFC China Energy said it was "highly concerned" about the case, but stressed it had no "commercial relations of authorisation" with the China Energy Fund Committee think tank, where Ho was secretary general of its Hong Kong Non-Governmental Fund Committee. He Zhiping is the mainland Chinese way of transliterating Ho's name.
CEFC China Energy's role was apparent in the formal complaint.
The company was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in NY federal district court, but details in the complaint pointed to CEFC China Energy, the Shanghai-based rising star of China's energy industry.
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The email concluded with an image of the Night King, a character from " Game of Thrones ", and said: "Good luck to HBO ". In a statement Tuesday, HBO said it was working with law enforcement but declined further comment.
While the name of the Chinese firm that the duo was said to be helping has not been revealed by the United States officials, details in the complaint filed in NY federal district court hint at the firm being CEFC China Energy based in Shanghai. The Shanghai- based company had revenue of $34 million (263 billion Chinese yuan) in 2015.
Prosecutors allege Ho and Gadio were involved in bribing officials of the two countries.
On Oct. 19, 2014, Ho met Kutesa at the United Nations.
Two months later, Ho pledged a $2 million bribe to Deby on behalf of the energy company in exchange for obtaining lucrative oil rights from the Chadian government.
Ho is alleged to have paid Deby $400,000 for his services via wire transfers transmitted through NY.
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FBI Assistant Director In Charge William Sweeney of the New York Field Office said Ho and Gadio "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 US banking system would be their undoing".
Ho, who led a Hong Kong-based organisation called the China Energy Fund Committee, also known as CEFC and funded by CEFC China Energy, also provided Uganda's president and foreign minister with gifts and promises of future benefits - including a share in the profits of a potential joint venture, authorities said.
Meanwhile, as per the investigation, Chad's president received a bribe of $2 million and he then gave the Chinese firm an opportunity to land oil rights in the land-locked country without any competition.
No one could be reached at the embassies of Chad and Uganda in Washington following the arrests and the missions did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.
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