Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Tuesday charged a jailed billionaire from Macau and others with bribing a top United Nations official who used the money to buy a Rolex, pay for his BMW and build a private basketball court at his Westchester County home.
Real estate tycoon Ng Lap Seng, 67, jailed for two weeks on charges of lying about $4.5 million in cash he brought into the United States, allegedly paid more than $500,000 in bribes to John Ashe, a former UN delegate from Antigua and president of the General Assembly.
Ashe was accused of taking the money from Ng to support a UN conference center in Macau, and also getting $800,000 from other, unnamed Chinese businessmen to support business deals in Antigua -- bribes he allegedly shared with Antigua's ex-prime minister.
"The cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "... United in greed, the defendants allegedly formed a corrupt alliance of business and government, converting the UN into a platform for profit."
Bharara said the investigation was continuing, with the UN joining Albany in the crosshairs of his corruption probe.
"We will be asking the question, 'Is bribery, business as usual at the UN?' " he asked.
More thoughts on the Albany corruption stuff here.