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Feds seek forfeiture of bribe money paid to former Chad ambassador

Former Chad ambassador to the U.S. and Canada, Mahamoud Adam BechirThe Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking $106,488.31 allegedly traceable to a $2 million bribe by a Canadian energy company to Chad’s former ambassador to the United States and Canada and his wife.

From 2004 to 2012, the DOJ said, Mahamoud Adam Bechir, 49, served as Chad’s Ambassador to the United States and Canada. 

“Bechir agreed to use his position to influence the award of oil development rights in Chad in exchange for $2 million and other valuable interests from Griffiths Energy International Inc.,” the complaint said.

To conceal the bribe, Bechir and his wife, Nouracham Niam, 44, agreed with Griffiths Energy to use a phony consulting agreement with a $2 million success fee if the company won oil rights in Chad. 

Griffiths was awarded the rights in February 2011. It then allegedly transferred $2 million to an account in Washington, D.C. held by a shell company formed by Niam. 

In 2013, Griffiths Energy pleaded guilty in Canada to bribing Bechir. A court fined Griffiths more than $10 million.

The DOJ said Bechir transferred nearly $1.5 million “traceable to the bribe payment to his account in South Africa, where he is now serving as Chad’s Ambassador to South Africa.”

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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