HONG KONG— A Chinese energy company has denied it had anything to do with a multimillion dollar bribery scheme that U.S. prosecutors say was organized by two businessmen to secure business from African officials on its behalf.
In a statement late Tuesday, CEFC China Energy Co. sought to distance itself from the corruption, money laundering and conspiracy charges filed against former Hong Kong home secretary Patrick Ho and Cheik Gadio, a former Senegal foreign minister.
Prosecutors say the two arranged bribes to secure business advantages for an unnamed Shanghai-headquartered company in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The complaint’s details indicate it was CEFC.
The detailed allegations shed new light on the company, a privately owned enterprise that in just a few years has risen to prominence in China’s oil and gas sector, which is dominated by state-owned behemoths.
CEFC said it “conducts its business activities in strict accordance with the law” and that “any activities that go against the law and discipline are strictly prohibited by the company.”
It denied investment activities in Uganda and having an “interest relationship” with Chad’s government.
Prosecutors allege Ho and Gadio were involved in bribing officials of the two countries.
They said Ho is head of a non-governmental organization funded by an energy company.
He’s listed as the deputy chairman of the China Energy Fund Committee on its website, which describes itself as a non-profit think-tank funded by CEFC China Energy.
CEFC said the fund has “no commercial authorization relationship whatsoever with the company.”