Macau billionaire faces new U.S. charges in U.N. bribe case

November 22, 2016 6:37 PM EST

Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, accused of bribing former United Nations General Assembly president John Ashe, exiting U.S Federal Court in New York, New York U.S., June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo


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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday brought new charges against a billionaire from Macau accused of engaging in a scheme to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to a former United Nations General Assembly president.

A revised indictment filed in Manhattan federal court against Ng Lap Seng, a real estate developer from the Chinese territory, and his assistant, Jeff Yin, included new charges that both men violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Prosecutors also added tax-related charges against Yin. The indictment said he took steps to evade paying income taxes and helped a diplomat from the Dominican Republic involved in the scheme conceal portions of his income from U.S. tax authorities.

And prosecutors unveiled an alias that they said Ng, the founder of Macau-based real estate developer Sun Kian Ip Group, was known by: "Boss Wu."

Lawyers for Ng and Yin did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Both have previously denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to bribery and money laundering charges.

Ng, who was once linked to a campaign fundraising investigation during former U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration, is one of seven individuals charged since October 2015 in the U.N.-related probe.

Prosecutors accuse Ng and Yin of paying more than $500,000 in bribes to John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served as General Assembly president from 2013 to 2014. Ashe died in June awaiting trial.

The indictment said Ng and Yin also paid bribes to Francis Lorenzo, a then-deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic who pleaded guilty in March to bribery and money laundering charges as part of a deal to cooperate in the probe.

The main goal, the indictment said, was to have both ambassadors to take steps to help obtain the United Nations' support for a multi-billion dollar U.N.-backed conference center in Macau that Sun Kian Ip Group would develop.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; editing by Grant McCool)



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