United Nations official among accused in bribery scheme

According to prosecutors in Manhattan, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John W. Ashe and a Chinese real estate developer are accused of being part of a corruption scheme.

Ashe was one of six individuals mentioned in a criminal complaint which blueprinted a bribery scheme that involved over $1 Million in payments from Chinese sources, in exchange for assistance for business deals and real estate, The New York Times reports.

The charges are a result of a growing investigation into Ng Lap Seng, a developer based in Macau. Ng was arrested by customs officials, where he was charged with bringing $4.5 million dollars into the United States, under false pretenses.

This case may potentially reflect poorly on the United Nations, after they vowed for greater transparency and accountability in their practices, in light of previous scandals.  Ten years ago, a commission found that the United Nations was abusing their Iraq Oil-for-Food program.

The complaint reveals patterns of bribery by Ashe, to support an expensive lifestyle. Ashe purchased multiple suits in Hong Kong, two Rolex watches, and used over $40,000 to lease a BMW X5. He also allegedly used bribery money for a country club membership, and to have a basketball court installed in his home.

According to the complaint, Ashe took the payments from Ng, and used his position to obtain investment properties in Antigua.

As it stands, Ashe is not charged with the bribery scheme charges, but instead two counts of filing false tax returns. Others involved were charged with bribery and conspiracy charges.

Ng was previously mentioned during another bribery scandal involving the Democratic Party, in 1998. He was accused then of wiring over $1 Million from foreign accounts to bank accounts in Washington D.C. and Arkansas, where former president Bill Clinton lived.

A 1998 report from the Senate Committee on Government Affairs found that Ng visited the White House multiple times, and was photographed with the former president.

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