A three-judge panel on the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has upheld the bribery conviction for Chi Ping Patrick Ho, the former Hong Kong home affairs secretary and former chairman of a think tank funded by a Chinese energy conglomerate, CEFC.
A federal jury convicted Ho on Dec. 5, 2018, on charges related to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Ho was accused of offering bribes on behalf of CEFC China Energy, a major Chinese energy conglomerate, to officials from Uganda and Chad for oil drilling rights.
Prosecutors said that Ho and CEFC executives offered $ 2 million in cash stuffed in a box to President Idriss Déby of Chad during a meeting in December 2014. Meanwhile, Uganda’s foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, allegedly accepted a $ 500,000 bribe disguised as a payment to a charitable foundation from Ho around February 2016.
Despite Ho’s claim of insufficient evidence, the judges said in the ruling that evidence introduced at trial was “more than sufficient” to prove that Ho acted on behalf of a U.S. non-governmental organization to “assist it in obtaining business for CEFC Energy”
Ho was sentenced last year to 36 months in prison and imposed a fine of $ 400,000. He was released in June due to good behavior.
Correspondence with CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming from 2017 shows Hunter Biden extended “best wishes from the entire Biden family,” and urged the chairman to “quickly” send a $ 10 million wire to “properly fund and operate” a joint venture. The $ 10 million transfer to the joint venture was never completed.
According to a September report released by the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Finance Committee on its investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, CEFC wired $ 1 million to his law firm in March 2018 for Ho’s legal case.
The report also said that Jianming and other Chinese nationals — who had business dealings with Hunter Biden — were linked to the Chinese Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army.
The decision by the judges comes following an announcement that Hunter Biden’s tax affairs are under a federal investigation. A source told Fox News the investigation was predicated, in part, by Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding foreign transactions. Another source familiar with the matter said that the SARs were regarding funds from “China and other foreign nations.”
President-elect Joe Biden is currently not a subject of the investigation.