Firm denies Chinese heads major bribery scheme in Africa

By Guo Fang and Yao Lijuan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/21 18:48:40

CEFC China Energy says it has no Uganda investments

There is no truth to a US Justice Department's claim that a Chinese representing a top energy company is heading a multi-million dollar bribery scheme in Africa, a high-level source from the company said Tuesday.

US officials announced  Monday that former foreign minister of Senegal Cheikh Gadio and Hong Kong's Patrick Chi Ping Ho sent huge bribes to high-level officials in Chad and Uganda to secure a business advantage for the Chinese company, after the two were arrested by US authorities over the weekend, AFP reported.

The company was not identified in the announcement or the complaint filed in New York federal district court, but details in the complaint pointed to CEFC China Energy, a Shanghai-based energy company, the report said.

Ho's lawyer is handling the case and has denied the groundless accusations against Ho from the US Justice Department, a high-level source from CEFC China Energy told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Ho is the deputy chairman of a Hong Kong-based organization called the China Energy Fund Committee, which is funded by CEFC China Energy.

Ho's arrest will not affect the normal operations of the China Energy Fund Committee, said the source.

In the Justice Department complaint, the two men allegedly offered a $2 million bribe to the president of Chad "to obtain valuable oil rights," and a $500,000 bribe to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as UN General Assembly president, AFP reported.

However, the CEFC China Energy source said the company has no investments in Uganda. The Chad project is a financial investment program from the CEFC China Energy in a Taiwan company, said the source, adding that there is no "benefit-based relationship" between CEFC China Energy and the project.

Ho, 68, and Gadio, 61, have each been charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering, with possible jail sentences of as long as 20 years.

The source added that the arrest was not accidental and there are deep international political motives behind the arrest.

 "The arrest was announced at a critical time in the cooperation between CEFC China Energy and Russia's state-run oil group Rosneft, and the news may greatly affect further energy cooperation between China and Russia," the source said.

Rosneft agreed to supply CEFC China Energy with almost 61 million tons of oil over the next five years, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

When asked to comment at a daily briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said the ministry has no information on the details, but the country has always insisted that Chinese companies follow local laws when operating in foreign countries.

Newspaper headline: Firm denies part of bribery scheme

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