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Former Top UN Official Released on Bail

  • VOA News

FILE - John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda's former U.N. ambassador, speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 17, 2013.

FILE - John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda's former U.N. ambassador, speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 17, 2013.

A former United Nations General Assembly president, John Ashe, who is accused of being involved in a U.N. bribery scheme, has been released on bail from a New York prison.

Prosecutors Monday said Ashe likely will face additional charges. He was freed on $1 million bail and orders of house arrest.

Ashe already has been charged with two counts of tax fraud, but prosecutors have not charged him with bribery because of the possible diplomatic immunity he possesses.

Prosecutors accuse Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda, of accepting more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for promoting the interests of a Chinese businessman. They also say he did not pay taxes on the bribes.

The indictment also names billionaire Macau-based real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, also known as David Ng, and three others.

Ng was arrested last month on separate charges and later was placed under house arrest with a $50 million bond.

Prosecutors allege Ng was seeking Ashe's influence as far back as 2011 to promote the construction of a multi-billion-dollar U.N. conference center in Macau. Investigators contend he helped draft and then circulated an official U.N. document to other member states in support of the conference center.

Ashe's alleged co-author, deputy U.N. ambassador to the Dominican Republic Francis Lorenzo, also was indicted.

John Ashe was Antigua and Barbuda's U.N. ambassador from 2004 until his election as president of the 68th General Assembly in 2013. He was arrested earlier this month in suburban New York City.

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