In late December, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction of Chi Ping Patrick Ho on seven counts alleging multiple FCPA and money laundering (and related conspiracy) violations. The decision is notable for its construction of various FCPA provisions, and further demonstrates the expansive jurisdictional reach of anti-money laundering laws to dollar-denominated transfers.
Ho, a citizen of Hong Kong, served as an officer and director of the Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC-NGO), which was funded by Shanghai-based energy conglomerate China CEFC Energy Company Limited (CEFC). Ho also served as an officer and director of a CEFC-affiliated US non-profit (US NGO), funded by CEFC NGO.
Ho’s conviction, for which he was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and a US$400,000 fine, stemmed from two alleged bribery schemes involving (1) an attempted US$2 million cash delivery to the President of Chad (which was purportedly rejected by the President) and (2) a US$500,000 wire transfer to a charity associated with the foreign minister of Uganda. Notably, the US dollar-denominated wire originated from a bank in Hong Kong, which was transmitted through its operating unit in the United States as a correspondent to another bank in New York, which in turn was acting as a correspondent for a beneficiary bank in Uganda for final credit to an ultimate beneficiary NGO. Both acts were allegedly made for the benefit of CEFC’s commercial interests in Africa.
On appeal, Ho challenged his 2018 conviction on a number of grounds.