Former Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko is said to be in custody of the security agencies in the United Kingdom for alleged bribery.
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker was arrested at Heathrow Airport on charges that he orchestrated bribes to Ghanaian officials while employed at the investment bank, according to a report carried by Bloomberg.
He is facing six counts on issue dated August 2020.
This follows last week in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, where Berko was accused of conspiring with at least two Ghanaian officials and four others in a bribery scheme that benefited Goldman, himself and a Turkish energy company that sought to build a power plant in the African nation.
However, his accomplices are yet to be named.
Per a report carried by Accra based media outlet, sighted by DGN Online, Carl Loewenson, a lawyer for Berko, allegedly declined to comment on the matter.
Also, John Marzulli, a spokesman for Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace, also declined to comment as a spokesperson for Goldman similarly didn’t immediately respond to an email and voicemail messages seeking comment about the case.
Berko was said to be member of the team at Goldman responsible for securing and managing financing for the power plant project at the time the scheme occurred.
He purportedly paid the bribes to obtain the necessary approvals for the Turkish company, in which Goldman held a 16 percent stake.
Berko laundered the bribe money through US financial institutions, according to prosecutors.
The former TOR boss was sued over the same conduct by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2020.
He last year resolved the SEC’s suit by agreeing to pay more than $329,000 to regulators without admitting or denying the allegations, court records show.
According to the SEC, Berko was a vice president of Goldman’s natural-resources group before he resigned in December 2016.
He then went on to serve as managing director of Ghana’s state-owned Tema Oil Refinery Ltd. but stepped down after the SEC suit was filed.
In another foreign-bribery case, Goldman paid more than $2.3 billion for its role in the looting of Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
It was the largest penalty in US history for a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
By Vincent Kubi
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