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Disgraced millionaire jailed for bribing African leaders

By Jenni Marsh on 26/03/2019

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• Patrick Chi-Ping Ho
• Patrick Chi-Ping Ho

A disgraced former Hong Kong politician was sentenced to three years in prison by a US federal court in New York Monday for his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe African leaders through contacts made at the United Nations.

The trial of Patrick Ho Chi-Ping, 69, at times, had felt like a Hollywood film script. It spanned three continents, millions of dollars and included clandestine meetings with African leaders in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

 It also shone a light on a mysterious Chinese energy giant that had so tightly aligned itself with President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road policy that it was often hard to distinguish between the two.

The sentencing wraps up a case that began with his arrest by FBI agents at John F Kennedy Airport in November 2017, and saw Ho convicted on seven counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering in December 2018.

 He had pleaded not guilty.

The maximum penalty for each charge ranged from five to 20 years in jail.

Rob Precht, a criminal justice lawyer who has been following the case, said Monday that the sentence was "unusually lenient" calling it "simple mercy" by the judge.

Ho will also pay a $400,000 fine. During the lead-up to his trial, he had offered to post $10 million bond, secured by $3 million in cash.

 In sentencing, Judge Loretta A Preska had called corruption "an insidious plague." She noted that it is "found in all countries -- big and small, rich and poor -- but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive."

But she also noted Ho's record of helping others, including the inmates he had tutored during his 16 months at the Manhattan Correctional Center, which will be deducted from his sentence.

Ho's lawyer Edward Kim said Monday: "Today's sentence reflects the fact that (Ho) is an extraordinary man of exceptional character. (He) has endured his prosecution with courage and dignity. ... He looks forward to returning home to his family."  (CNN)

Source News Express

Posted 26/03/2019 11:00:46 AM





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