World

HK's former home affairs secretary arrested by US for graft scheme

WASHINGTON United States authorities have arrested Hong Kong's former Home Affairs Secretary and the ex-Foreign Minister of Senegal for leading a multi-million dollar bribery scheme in Africa on behalf of a top Chinese energy company, with some deals arranged in the halls of the United Nations.

US officials announced yesterday that former Senegalese top diplomat Cheikh Gadio and Hong Kong's Patrick Chi Ping Ho sent huge bribes to high-level officials in Chad and Uganda to secure business advantages for the Chinese company.

CEFC CHINA ENERGY

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, the Shanghai-based rising star of China's energy industry.

CEFC China Energy has blown onto the scene in just a few years, taking major stakes in global projects, including a 14 per cent chunk of Russia's Rosneft, and playing an important role in Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious One Belt One Road initiative.

In the Justice Department complaint, the two men allegedly offered a US$2 million (S$2.7m) 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 the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

The charges were based on their use of the US banking system to process almost a million dollars in payoffs, sent under the guise of donations. - AFP

WORLD