Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York, NY, United States (4E) – A jury for the Southern District of New York has convicted Patrick Ho Chi-ping, former Secretary for Home Affairs of Hong Kong, for bribing government officials in Uganda and Chad on behalf of a Chinese energy company with close ties to the communist government
Ho, 69, offered a bribe of $2 million to the president of Chad to facilitate oil rights for CEFC China Energy, one of China’s largest oil and gas firms that has strong links to the People’s Liberation Army. Ho was also found guilty of offering $500,000 to the foreign minister of Uganda to secure a banking deal for CEFC China Energy.
Ho was charged on five counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and three counts of money laundering involving bribes amounting to $2.9 million. New York prosecutors successfully argued the bribes were in exchange for securing oil rights and development opportunities for CEFC China Energy in the two African countries.
The maximum penalty for each count ranges from five to 20 years’ imprisonment. Since Ho pleaded not guilty to all the charges, he will face a heavier jail sentence than if he had cooperated.
One of the jurors said they had little doubt about Ho’s criminal intent, which explains why it took them only three hours of deliberation to reach a verdict.
Ho was arrested on Nov. 18, 2017 at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York and has been in custody for more than a year. He was subsequently indicted.
Asked about the jury’s decision, Ho replied, “Expected. It’s like that.” He also thanked his friends in Hong Kong for their support.
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