United States: Charges Unsealed Against Former Chadian Diplomats to the U.S. Charged in Connection with International Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme

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 a 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.

“These defendants allegedly engaged in a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme while in the United States and then used the U.S. financial system to launder the bribes to conceal their conduct,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The charges unsealed today demonstrate the department’s determined commitment to investigate and prosecute corruption wherever it occurs and the officials who use our financial system to launder their bribes. Corruption undermines trust in governments and prevents the free market from functioning fairly for law-abiding people and companies.”

“The bribery and corruption of foreign officials cause grave harm to both the global economy and the interests of the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia. “My office and the Justice Department are committed to prosecuting these violations and efforts to launder the proceeds of these crimes.”

The original full article can be found at justice.gov

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