Chinese official’s Africa bribery trial brings his Iran, Qatar deals to the fore

In this Feb. 5, 2018 courtroom sketch, Patrick Ho attends his bail hearing in New York.

:: Even as the details of former Hong Kong official Patrick Ho’s bribery trial emerge, his dealings with Iran and Qatar are already under the spotlight.

Ho has been fighting foreign bribery charges in New York. On September 14, prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Cheikh Gadio, a former Senegalese foreign minister they had accused of helping Ho bribe African officials.

Arguing that the government’s move undermined its case against Ho, Ho’s lawyers urged a federal judge in New York to release their client from a federal jail. However, Ho’s fifth request for bail has been unsuccessful.

Help Iran access funds

According to reports, as Ho’s November 5 trial approaches, prosecutors have revealed how Gadio’s testimony, as well as evidence of Ho’s business dealings with Iran and alleged arms sales to African nations, will help their case at trial.

In recent days, prosecutors have indicated that they intend to introduce evidence of Ho’s involvement in other corrupt actions. Prosecutors also plan to introduce evidence of Ho’s interest in doing business with Iran while the country was under US sanctions, and brokering arms sales to Libya and Qatar.

In an October 2014 email, one of several cited in court documents, Ho suggested that CEFC China serve as a “middleman” to help Iran access funds it kept in a Chinese bank under US sanctions to pay a Hong Kong bank for precious metals.

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