LONDON (Reuters) - British prosecutors will recover 4.4 million pounds from a corruption case in which a Canadian energy company bribed Chadian diplomats in North America, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday following a court ruling.
Canada’s Griffiths Energy, using a front company called “Chad Oil”, bribed senior diplomats at the Chadian Embassy to the United States with discounted share deals and payments in return for oil contracts in the central African nation, the SFO said.
Griffiths Energy, which changed its name to Caracal Energy Inc in 2013, pleaded guilty to corruption charges brought by Canadian authorities in the same year.
The London High Court on Thursday granted the SFO’s civil order to recover 4.4 million pounds lost in that corruption case after a three-day trial, the prosecutor said in a statement.
The ruling draws a line under a four-year battle to seize funds from Ikram Saleh, the wife of the former deputy chief of the mission for Chad in the United States.
Saleh has 21 days to appeal against the ruling. A lawyer representing her was not immediately available for comment.
Caracal was bought by diversified natural resource company Glencore Plc in 2014. Glencore declined to comment.
The SFO said it began civil recovery proceedings after the corruption case came under the UK’s jurisdiction following the company’s takeover.
“This is a positive result in the ongoing fight against criminals who attempt to hide their ill-gotten gains in our jurisdiction,” said David Green, the outgoing SFO director.
The recovered money will be transferred to Britain’s Department for International Development, which will invest in projects in Chad that will benefit the poor.
Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Susan Fenton