Episode 255 — The Curious FCPA Case of Asante Berko
In 2020, Asante Berko settled his FCPA case with the SEC by agreeing to pay $329,000. In November of 2022, Berko arrived in London at Heathrow Airport and he was arrested. Berko had no idea that he had been indicted back in 2020 and the indictment remained under seal until he arrived, two years later, at Heathrow Airport.
Berko was charged with conspiring with two Ghanaian officials and four other individuals to pay bribes in violation of the FCPA to benefit Goldman Sachs, himself, and a Turkish energy company. The scheme began to unravel when Goldman Sachs discovered the illegal payments.
Join Michael Volkov as he examines the strange case of Asante Berko.
- Berko orchestrated the bribery scheme between 2014 and 2017 to secure an electrical power contract from the Ghanaian government for the Turkish energy company. They were attempting to secure a power purchase agreement (PPA) or an emergency power agreement (EPA) with Ghana, which required the approval of certain Ghanian officials and entities, including a senior Ghanaian official as well as the Executive Cabinet and Parliament.
- In seeking reimbursement for the bribes paid out by Berko and his conspirators, he falsified invoices for consulting services allegedly provided by a Ghanian consulting company, which were then paid by the Turkish energy company. The payments were routed through correspondent banks in the US.
- Goldman Sachs officials began questioning the Turkish energy company about the payments to the Ghana consulting Company that appeared in their financial analysis. Despite the reassurance of Co-conspirator Number 3, Goldman Sachs conducted a due diligence review of the transaction and various email accounts and communications, including personal accounts used by Berko and others for incriminating conversations.
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