NEW YORK (AP) - A United Nations-linked bribery case against a Hong Kong businessman seems stronger after a prosecutor revealed that a former co-defendant will testify at trial that Chad’s president rejected the man’s $2 million bribe in 2014, a judge said Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska made the observation as she rejected a renewed bail application by Dr. Chi Ping Patrick Ho. Ho, 68, was arrested in November.
Preska also said the case is stronger now than earlier this year because a judge has rejected Ho’s effort to suppress evidence and toss out charges.
His lawyers argued unsuccessfully that Ho should be freed because charges were dropped against his co-defendant and the government has revealed that Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, took no bribes.
But a prosecutor, Douglas Zolkind, said the case was stronger now than when bail was denied earlier this year because Ho’s former co-defendant will testify at trial next month that Ho arranged a $2 million bribe to be delivered to Chad’s president in gift boxes. The bribe, he said, was rejected.
Prosecutors say Ho conspired with associates at China Energy Fund Committee and the energy conglomerate that created and funded it. They allege he sought to pay bribes to gain business opportunities in Chad and Uganda.
Ho was once Hong Kong’s home affairs secretary.
A trial is set to begin Nov. 5.
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