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$4.5m ENERGY SCANDAL UNFOLDS – Politicians, Former Goldman Sachs Banker Fingered

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has exposed officials of the erstwhile John Mahama administration and some Members of Parliament (MPs) for their involvement in bribery involving 4.5million dollars received from a power company from Turkey through a Goldman Sach employee before 2016.

Reports had it that one Asante Berko who is a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. arranged for the millions of dollars in bribes to be paid to government officials in Ghana to help a client win a power-plant contract.

In view of that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a civil lawsuit over the action of Goldman Sachs which goes against U.S laws- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars individuals and companies from giving anything of value to overseas officials to win business.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Asante Berko, a former executive at Goldman’s London subsidiary, facilitated as much as $4.5 million in bribes to help a Turkish energy company win a contract to build a power plant.

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According to SEC, the energy company (name withheld) funneled money to an intermediary, which then paid bribes to Ghanaian officials.

In a press release, the SEC said Mr. Berko tried to hide the scheme from the bank, whose compliance officers questioned how the deal was put together.

Goldman, which wasn’t named in the SEC’s lawsuit, terminated its involvement with the project after the energy company refused to explain the intermediary firm’s role, the SEC’s legal complaint revealed.

According to the release, Mr. Berko, who left Goldman Sachs in 2016, aside the millions, also personally paid bribes totaling $66,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government 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,” said Nicole Sharp, a spokeswoman for Goldman.

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The energy company paid Mr. Berko $2 million for successfully coordinating the effort, the SEC alleges.

The SEC lawsuit claimed the payments violated Mr. Berko’s employment agreement with the bank when Mr. Berko knew the bank stood to earn $10 million in fees if the energy company won the contract and organized financing for it.

According to the SEC’s complaint the deal would have “enhanced Berko’s performance and stature within” the bank.

However, in a Suit filed in Brooklyn federal court, the SEC asks for Mr. Berko to pay fines and give back any compensation he earned through the scheme.



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