Former Goldman Sachs banker charged for bribe to Ghana officials

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States of America has charged a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) for arranging at least $2.5 million in bribes to be paid to Ghanaian government officials to be approved for a client’s power plant project.

In a statement released by the US SEC on Monday (April 13, 2020) said, “the United Securities and Exchange Commission today 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 Ghana in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”

The SEC said Asante Berko, a former employee at a subsidiary of the U.S. lender, arranged the bribes for a Turkish energy company to send the money to a Ghana-based intermediary, which was then paid the local officials.

“Goldman Sachs fully cooperated with the SEC’s investigation and as stated by the SEC in its press release, the firm’s compliance personnel took appropriate steps to prevent the firm from participating in the transaction,” company spokeswoman Nicole Sharp said.

Berko helped the Ghana-based intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various Ghanaian government officials. He personally also paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials.

The statement from SEC added that Berko took deliberate steps to ensure that his employers do not detect the bribery scheme.

Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, Charles Cain said, “As alleged in our complaint, Berko orchestrated a scheme to bribe high-level Ghanaian officials in pursuit of firm business and his own enrichment. Berko’s misconduct was egregious and individual accountability remains a key component to our FCPA enforcement efforts,”

“The firm’s compliance personnel took appropriate steps to prevent the firm from participating in the transaction and it is not being charged,” he added.

The regulator filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and is seeking monetary penalties, among other remedies, against Berko.

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