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On May 24, the Justice Department unsealed charges against two diplomats from Chad who were previously assigned to WashDC and Canada for international bribery and money laundering scheme.
Excerpt from DOJ’s announcement:
An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. was unsealed on May 20, 2021, charging the Republic of Chad’s former Ambassador to the United States and Canada and Chad’s former Deputy Chief of Mission for the United States and Canada with soliciting and accepting a $2 million bribe from a Canadian start-up energy company, and conspiring to launder the bribe payment in order to conceal its true nature.
According to court documents, Mahamoud Adam Bechir and Youssouf Hamid Takane engaged in this scheme between August 2009 and July 2014, while serving as diplomats based out of the Embassy of Chad located in Washington, D.C. According to the indictment, Bechir and Takane demanded the bribe from the Canadian start-up energy company in exchange for a promise to misuse their official positions and their influence with the government of Chad to assist the start-up energy company in obtaining oil rights in Chad. Naeem Tyab, a citizen of Canada and founding shareholder of the start-up energy company, who served as a director of the company from 2009 through 2011, is also charged in the indictment for allegedly arranging for the bribe to be paid to Bechir’s wife, co-defendant Nouracham Bechir Niam, via a sham contract for consulting services that she never actually provided. In addition to the $2 million bribe payment, the start-up energy company also issued shares in the company to Niam, to Takane’s wife, and to a third Chadian individual, as part of the bribe, according to the indictment.
All four defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Bechir, Takane, and Niam are also charged with money laundering, each of which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Niam and Tyab are also charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The indictment in this case was returned by the grand jury in February 2019. Tyab was arrested in the Southern District of New York on Feb. 9, 2019, and subsequently, on April 30, 2019, he entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. As part of his guilty plea, Tyab agreed to forfeit criminal proceeds of approximately $27 million. The Honorable Richard J. Leon will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The remaining three defendants remain at large.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Read here in full.
🇷🇺🇹🇩 Le 19 mai, Mikhaïl Bogdanov, Représentant spécial du Président de la Russie pour le Moyen-Orient et les pays d'Afrique, Vice-Ministre russe des Affaires étrangères, a reçu en audience Mahamoud Adam Bechir, Ambassadeur du Tchad à Moscou.
— Russie au Bénin et Togo 🇷🇺 (@AmbRusBen) May 21, 2021
Chad's new ambassador to #Russia Mahamoud Adam Bechir has been formally charged by US prosecutors with accepting a $2 million bribe from a Canadian start-up energy company, and conspiring to launder the bribe payment in order to conceal its true nature. https://t.co/HnOAGu9wSt
— Fred Muvunyi (@MuvunyiF) May 25, 2021
#Chad recalls Mahamoud Adam Bechir, ex-ambassador to #Canada, after Calgary oil company Griffiths fined for paying off his wife
— Michel Arseneault (@miko75011) January 27, 2013