Litigation Release No. 25121 / June 23, 2021
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Asante K. Berko, No. 1:20-cv-01789-FB-MMH (E.D.N.Y. filed Apr. 13, 2020)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today obtained a final judgment against a former executive of a financial services company for his role in orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client to win a government contract to build and operate an electrical power plant in the Republic of Ghana, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
As alleged in the complaint filed on April 13, 2020, Asante Berko, a former executive of a foreign-based subsidiary of a U.S. bank holding company, arranged for his firm’s client, a Turkish energy company, to funnel at least $2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary to pay illicit bribes to Ghanaian government officials in order to gain their approval of an electrical power plant project. The complaint further alleges that Berko helped the intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, and that Berko personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials. According to the complaint, Berko took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting his bribery scheme, including misleading his employer’s compliance personnel about the true role and purpose of the intermediary company.
Berko consented to the entry of a final judgment that permanently enjoins him from violating the anti-bribery provision of the FCPA, Section 30A of Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and orders him to disgorge $275,000 in ill-gotten gains plus $54,163.92 in prejudgment interest.
The SEC’s case was handled by Asita Obeyesekere and Paul G. Block of the FCPA Unit and Kathleen Shields, Mark Albers, and Marty Healey of the Boston Regional Office.