June 1, 2021

Chadian diplomats indicted for role in international bribery scheme

On May 20, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed a February 7, 2019 indictment charging Mahamoud Adam Bechir (Chad’s former Ambassador to the US and Canada), Youssouf Hamid Takane (Chad’s former Deputy Chief of Mission for the US and Canada), and two other individuals with corruption and money laundering offenses in connection with an international bribery scheme.

As alleged in the indictment, between 2009 and 2014, while serving as diplomats based out of the Washington, DC Embassy of Chad, Bechir and Takane demanded that a Canadian start-up energy company pay them a $2 million bribe, in exchange for which they promised to assist the energy company in obtaining oil rights in Chad.  Naeem Tyab, a Canadian citizen and the founder of the start-up energy company, allegedly arranged for the $2 million bribe payment to be made to Bechir’s wife, Nouracham Behir Niam, through a sham consulting contract for services that she never provided.  According to the indictment, the start-up energy company also issued shares to Niam, Takane’s wife, and a third, unidentified Chadian individual as part of the bribery scheme.  

Bechir, Takane, Niam, and Tyab were all charged in the indictment with money laundering offenses, and Niam and Tyab were also charged with conspiracy to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Tyab was arrested in February 2019, and subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.  As part of his plea, he agreed to forfeit $27 million in criminal proceeds.  Tyab is currently awaiting sentencing.  The other three defendants remain at large.

DOJ Press Release | Indictment