Lawyers request US$10 million bail for former Hong Kong official Patrick Ho in bribery case
Former home affairs secretary’s legal team suggest he be put under house arrest in Manhattan
Lawyers for a former Hong Kong home affairs secretary have asked that he be released on a US$10 million bond, 10 times the original application, after he was indicted on eight bribery and money laundering charges related to pay-offs to government officials in Africa.
In a letter to New York judge Katherine Forrest, Patrick Ho Chi-ping’s lawyers proposed securing the bond by US$2 million in cash, and that Ho would be put under house arrest in a rented flat in Manhattan, New York with electronic monitoring.
“We propose that Dr Ho be subject to home incarceration in the Southern District of New York,” the lawyers wrote, in a reference to the area where the court is located.
Forrest will on Monday preside at Ho’s arraignment and initial pretrial conference, in which Ho would be asked to enter a plea.
Ex-Hong Kong minister Patrick Ho indicted in US over alleged US$2.9 million in bribes to African officials
Ho, who has been in US custody since November, was denied bail by another judge last month who agreed with prosecutors’ argument that Ho was “a flight risk”.
At the initial bail hearing, the lawyers proposed a personal recognisance bond of US$1 million.
In the letter dated Friday, Ho’s lawyers argued that the 68-year-old should be released as he “is neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk”. He will not flee the US as he “has every incentive to defend this case and clear his name” in court, they added.
To make sure that he would not flee the country, the lawyers proposed that the US$10 million bond “would be cosigned by five financially responsible persons … [and] if Dr Ho were to flee, he, his
wife, and his co-signers would be financially ruined”.
Ho is also prepared to sign a global waiver of extradition, which means he will consent to being extradited back to the US in the event that he did leave the country.
Ho was part of “a scheme to pay and offer money and other things of value to foreign officials in Africa, including the president of Chad, the Ugandan foreign minister and the president of Uganda, to obtain business for” a Shanghai-based energy company, according to an indictment issued in New York last month. Ho has been in US custody since November.
Ho, who had been working for an arm of CEFC China Energy, allegedly sent US$2.9 million worth of bribes to Chad’s president, Idriss Déby, Uganda’s foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, and Ho’s co-defendant, Cheikh Gadio, Senegal’s ex-foreign minister.