At least two former U.N. officials have been charged for their alleged role in a complex bribery scheme centering around Macau billionaire and real-estate developer Ng Lap Seng. Ng and his assistant Jeff Yin were arrested in September for lying about the intended use of more than $4.5 million in cash they have brought into the United States since 2013. John Ashe, the former ambassador to the U.N. for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda and the 68th president of the U.N. General Assembly, along with Francis Lorenzo, the deputy permanent representative to the U.N. from the Dominican Republic, were both charged on October 5, 2015, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The charges include alleged conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering and tax fraud. Charging documents alleged that Ng and his business associates funneled millions in cash to Ashe in exchange for his influence in the U.N. and at home in Antigua. Ng sought U.N. sponsorship of a multibillion-dollar conference center he planned to build in Macau. Ashe is alleged to have written a letter to the U.N. secretary general promoting the conference center in exchange for kickbacks. According to the unsealed complaint, Ashe then used this money to buy expensive watches, build a basketball court at his home and take first-class vacations.
Lorenzo is alleged to have acted as a proxy for Ng to move regular installments of cash to Ashe. Similar allegations have been brought against prominent Chinese businesswoman Shiwei Yan, also known as Sheri Yan. Yan is alleged to have sent Ashe monthly payments of $20,000 through her NGO, the Global Sustainability Foundation, in exchange for Ashe’s promise to advocate on behalf of her business interests in the Caribbean.
Ng posted $50 million bail and has been placed on house arrest in a Manhattan apartment.