Ex-U.N. leader John Ashe indicted in bribery case
John Ashe, a former president of the U.N. General Assembly, a billionaire real estate developer and three others were indicted Tuesday in an alleged bribery scheme.
The indictment names Ashe, 61, a former U.N. ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda and General Assembly president from September 2013 to September 2014.
A Chinese businessman, 67-year-old Ng Lap Seng, who paid more than $500,000 in bribes to Ashe, according to a complaint, was also indicted. Ng has been jailed since last month on charges of lying about $4.5 million in cash he allegedly brought into the United States.
Ng wanted to build a multibillion-dollar U.N. conference center in Macau, China, prosecutors said. In return, Ashe submitted a document in support of the conference center to the the United Nations.
Prosecutors said Ashe also took more than $800,000 in bribes from various Chinese businessmen to support business deals in Antigua. Ashe shared the bribe money with a former prime minister of Antigua, the complaint said.
Prosecutors said the scheme provided Ashe with a vacation in an $850-a-night suite in New Orleans, a $30,000 basketball court in his home, $59,000 in tailored clothing, $54,000 in Rolexes, $40,000 in BMW payments and $69,000 to join a vacation club.
Ashe under-reported his income by more than $1.2 million, prosecutors said.
Others indicted in the conspiracy were identified as Jeff Yin, 29; Shiwei Yan, 57; and Francis Lorenzo, 48, a Dominican Republic envoy, according to the indictment. They each face counts of bribery conspiracy and bribery. Prosecutors said they facilitated bribes.
The indictment does not name Heidi Hong Piao, who was previously charged with bribery-related offenses with Yin, Yan and Lorenzo.