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Former Tema Oil Refinery boss arrested by UK authorities over bribery allegations

Asante Berko, a former Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery has been arrested over his alleged involvement with bribes paid to Ghanaian authorities during his time as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Asante Berko

In a report by Bloomberg, Mr. Berko is facing a six-count charge after his August 2020 indictment documents were unsealed by a federal court in Brooklyn, New York last week.

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The charges, per the report, said Asante Berko is accused of conspiring with two Ghanaian authorities and four others in an alleged bribery scheme.

The scheme is said to have favoured Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Asante Berko, and a Turkish-based energy company that was seeking to build a power plant in Ghana.

Prosecutors say Mr. Berko allegedly paid a huge sum in bribes in order to obtain the necessary approvals for the Turkish-based power plant company, in which Goldman held a 16 percent stake.

Prosecutors also alleged that the former TOR boss laundered the bribe money through US financial institutions.

In 2020, he was sued over a similar conduct by the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he later in 2021 resolved the suit after he agreed to pay about $329,000 to regulators without admitting or denying the allegations, according to court records sighted by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said the unsealing of Asante Berko’s indictment documents coincided with his arrest last week at London’s Heathrow Airport, where he remains in UK custody.

Further details contained in the indictment sheet said Asante Berko, during the time of the alleged scheme, was serving as a team member at Goldman Sachs where he was responsible for securing, managing, and financing the power plant project in Ghana.

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