From the blog

UK: Madagascar President’s Aide In Court For Bribe Solicitation

The chief-of-staff to President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar is facing charges in the UK for seeking a bribe from a gem mining firm.

Romy Andrianarisoa and an associate are accused of offering the British firm Gemfields licences in Madagascar in return for around £225,000.

Andrianarisoa and her associate, Philippe Tabuteau – a French national, appeared briefly in court last week charged with requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe and remanded in custody.

Ms Andrianarisoa, 46, and Mr Tabuteau, 54, are also accused of trying to land a 5% equity stake in any Gemfields Madagascar projects, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The agency said that the pair were arrested in the Victoria area of central London on Thursday afternoon, at a meeting where they were suspected of having attempted to solicit a bribe.

Andy Kelly, the NCA’s head of international corruption, said: “I am grateful to Gemfields for bringing this matter to our attention and for their ongoing co-operation with the investigation.”

Ms Andrianarisoa and Mr Tabuteau will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 8 September.

The NCA did not specify what licences the alleged offences related to.