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Former UN General Assembly President Charged in Corruption Scheme

© REUTERS / Mike SegarFile photo of Ambassador Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda and current President of the U.N. General Assembly speaking during a news conference ahead of the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York
File photo of Ambassador Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda and current President of the U.N. General Assembly speaking during a news conference ahead of the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York - Sputnik International
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A fresh scandal involving a United Nations official is gaining momentum in the US, as a New York court has brought charges against former UN General Assembly President John Ashe for his alleged involvement in a years-long corruption scheme involving a Chinese billionaire real estate developer.

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Food-for-Oil Programme: Corruption Under the Auspices of UN
Ambassador Ashe, who represented Antigua and Barbuda and who served as UNGA president from 2013 to 2014, allegedly received bribes worth millions of dollars from Chinese businessmen, spending the money on luxury cars, Rolex watches, his mortgage, and a $30,000 basketball court, among other high-ticket items.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon was “shocked and deeply troubled” to learn of the charges, according to the secretary-general’s spokesperson, who said the UN had not previously known of the investigation into Ashe and others, including jailed billionaire Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng.

The United Nations’ secretariat is set to cooperate with US authorities if asked.

“United in greed, defendants allegedly a formed corrupt alliance of business and government, converting the UN into a platform for profit,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, who announced the case.

Alongside Ashe, five people are being charged for their alleged participation in the corruption scheme. Chinese developer Ng was arrested on September 19 together with his assistant, Jeff Yin. They are suspected of illegally bringing $4.5 million into the United States, Reuters reported.

According to court documents, Ng paid Ashe more than $500,000 for telling the United Nations’ Secretary General that a UN-sponsored conference center in Macau needed to be built.

© REUTERS / Andrew KellyUnited States Attorney Bharara arrives to address a news conference to announce charges against six individuals in a wide-ranging corruption scheme at the United Nations at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan
United States Attorney Bharara arrives to address a news conference to announce charges against six individuals in a wide-ranging corruption scheme at the United Nations at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan - Sputnik International
United States Attorney Bharara arrives to address a news conference to announce charges against six individuals in a wide-ranging corruption scheme at the United Nations at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan

 

In addition, Ashe was allegedly paid over $800,000 for supporting the interests of other Chinese businessmen at the UN and in Ashe’s home country of Antigua and Barbuda.

The President of the UN General Assembly is a ceremonial one-year post, paid for by the home nation.

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