The trial of Patrick Ho (and Belt and Road)

26 Nov 2018
Author: Robert Precht

Patrick Ho's bribery trial, now underway in New York, will also be a trial of China's Belt and Road Initiative as explained in this Wall Street Journal article by James T. Areddy and with my two cents: 

U.S. investigators have gone after Dr. Ho with particular zeal and his criminal indictment fits a pattern under the Trump administration to call out China for bad behavior in global commerce, said Robert Precht, a Hong Kong-based, U.S. criminal law expert.
 
“One of the goals of the Patrick Ho prosecution is to put a spotlight on China’s use of foreign bribery to win contracts for Belt and Road,” Mr. Precht said. “I don’t think it’s simply a bribery case.” 

In some nations, no Chinese company executed on the goals of Belt and Road more clearly than CEFC and its champion Dr. Ho. In one filing, Dr. Ho’s defense team stated: “The jury cannot understand this case without understanding [Belt and Road].” 

The Trump administration has hit China with trade tariffs, tightened scrutiny over its investments and prosecuted economic espionage. The administration is trying to counter China’s international expansion in part by discrediting Belt and Road, a policy promoted by President Xi Jinping. U.S. authorities say Beijing strong- arms weaker governments into projects that run up their debt and chiefly benefit China and its companies.