UN Chief charged in money laundering bribery scheme for allegedly accepting millions in cash from Chinese casino billionaire

By Christine Duhaime | October 8th, 2015

Former UN President Charged

The former United Nations (“UN”) President of the UN General Assembly, John Ashe, the UN Deputy Ambassador, Francis Lorenzo, a Chinese foreign national billionaire, Ng Lap Seng (also known as David Ng) and two of his associates were charged in New York with various offenses over an alleged bribery scheme. Two defendants were charged with money laundering. According to the criminal complaint, the UN President accepted over $1 million in bribes from Ng Lap Seng in exchange for supporting his Chinese business ventures. He used the money for a BMW, Rolex watches, vacations and expensive clothing.

Moving Bulk Cash from China

Ng Lap Seng was earlier charged in the US with lying to immigration authorities when he brought in $4.5 million in cash from China over a two-year period. He moved vast sums of cash from China to the West by carrying it with him in bulk cash in private jets. Allegedly on March 6, 2014, Ng flew to JFK with $300,000. Then returned again on April 18, 2014 with $300,000 and again on June 13, 2014 with $390,000. After that, he started to land in Alaska, once with as much as $900,000 in bulk cash before transferring to New York City. Ng is the co-owner of a Macau casino, the Fortuna.

Facilitated Money Laundering

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, Ng Lap Seng and his associates in China facilitated the transmission and laundering of over $1 million of bribery money from sources in China through wires from banks in China that were paid to the UN chief.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that if proven, the charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues governments infects the United Nations.  “As alleged, for Rolexes, bespoke suits, and a private basketball court, the President of the UN General Assembly, sold himself and the global institution he led.” The US Attorney said his office would continue to look at the UN.

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