A former London banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. arranged for millions of dollars in bribes
A former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. arranged for millions of dollars in bribes to be paid to government officials in Ghana to help a client win a power-plant contract, US regulators said Monday in a civil lawsuit.
SEC. Charges Former Executive of Financial Services Company with FCPA Violations - Litigation Release No. 24794 / April 13, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Asante K. Berko, No. 20-civ-01789 (EDNY. filed April 13, 2020)
- On April 13, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former executive of a financial services company with orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client to win a government contract to build and operate an electrical power plant in the Republic of Ghana, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- The SEC's complaint filed today alleges that
- Asante Berko, a former executive of a foreign -based subsidiary of a US bank holding company, arranged for his firm's client (a Turkish energy company) to funnel at least $2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary
- to pay illicit bribes to Ghanaian government officials in order to gain their approval of an electrical power plant project.
- The complaint further alleges that Berko helped the intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, and that Berko personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials.
- According to the complaint, Berko took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting his bribery scheme, including misleading his employer's compliance personnel about the true role and purpose of the intermediary company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Asante Berko, a former executive at Goldman's London subsidiary, facilitated as much as $4.5 million in bribes to help a Turkish energy company win a contract to build a power plant.
The SEC says the energy company, which wasn't named, funnelled money to an intermediary, which then paid bribes to Ghanaian officials.
Mr. Berko, who left Goldman Sachs in 2016, also personally paid bribes totalling $66,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials, the SEC alleges.
An attorney for Mr. Berko declined to comment on the lawsuit, which accuses Mr. Berko of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That law bars individuals and companies from giving anything of value to overseas officials to win business.
The SEC said in a press release that Mr. Berko tried to hide the scheme from the bank, whose compliance officers questioned how the deal was put together.
Goldman, which wasn't named in the SEC's lawsuit, terminated its involvement with the project after the energy company refused to explain the intermediary firm's role, the SEC's legal complaint says.
By Dave Michaels, The Wall Street Journal, April 13 2020
Read more at The Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-goldman-banker-arranged-bribes-to-ghana-officials-sec-says-11586817542