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China company denies links to Africa bribery

Former Hong Kong home secretary Patrick HoThe Chinese energy company that U.S. prosecutors say benefited from millions of dollars in bribes allegedly paid to officials in Africa has denied that it was involved in any way with the corruption.

CEFC China Energy Company Limited said in a statement Tuesday that it “conducts its business activities in strict accordance with the law.”

”Any activities that go against the law and discipline are strictly prohibited by the company,” the statement said.

The DOJ charged former Hong Kong home secretary Patrick Ho and Cheik Gadio, a former Senegal foreign minister, with bribing officials in Chad and Uganda to help CEFC China Energy win rights to natural resources.

Ho and Gadio were each charged in federal court in New York with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, violating the FCPA, conspiring to commit international money laundering, and committing international money laundering.

Ho leads an NGO called the China Energy Fund Committee or CEFC. It’s based in Hong Kong and Virginia and holds “Special Consultative Status” with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The NGO is fully funded by CEFC China Energy.

The DOJ alleged that Ho, with Gadio’s help, offered a $2 million bribe to the President of Chad. In exchange, the complaint says, the President of Chad gave the energy company the “exclusive opportunity to obtain particular oil rights in Chad without facing international competition.”

Ho also allegedly paid a $500,000 bribe to the minister of foreign affairs of Uganda, since identified as Sam Kahamba Kutesa. He also served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session in June 2014.

CEFC China Energy said the NGO it funds “is not involved in any of the commercial activities of CEFC China, and has no commercial authorization relationship whatsoever with the company.”

The statement also said CEFC China Energy “does not have any investment activities in Uganda” and “does not have any of the so-called ‘interest relationship’ with the Chadian government.”

*     *     *

Here’s the full statement:

Official Statement
CEFC China
November 21, 2017

In response to some media reports that He Zhiping, Secretary General of the China Energy Fund of Hong Kong (hereinafter referred to as the Fund), was prosecuted by the U.S. judicial authorities, CEFC China Energy Company Limited (CEFC China) attaches great importance to the incident, and hereby makes an official statement as follows:

1. China Energy Fund, registered in Hong Kong, is a non-governmental and non-profit organization established and fully funded by CEFC China in accordance with the relevant laws. It aims to promote international energy research, conduct public diplomacy, and facilitate global energy cooperation and cultural exchange.

2. As a non-governmental and non-profit organization, the Fund is not involved in any of the commercial activities of CEFC China, and has no commercial authorization relationship whatsoever with the company.

3. CEFC China does not have any investment activities in Uganda. CEFC China’s investment project in Uganda is only a financial investment in CPC Corporation, Taiwan. Therefore, it does not have any of the so-called “interest relationship” with the Chadian government.

4. CEFC China conducts its business activities in strict accordance with the law, and it operates under sound business management. With the establishment of the Board of Supervisors, the Discipline Inspection Committee and the Audit Department, the company exercises strict internal control and has a strict supervisory system in place. Any activities that go against the law and discipline are strictly prohibited by the company.

We will continue to follow the latest developments of the incident, and will take necessary measures as required to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests. Thank you all for the care and support extended to our company.
 
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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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