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Former UN Official Among 6 Charged in Bribery Scandal

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 president of the U.N. General Assembly was arrested as part of a wide-ranging corruption scandal involving a Chinese businessman seeking to win influence in real estate deals.

Authorities allege that John Ashe, the U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served as assembly president in 2013, took more than $1.3 million in bribes from Chinese businesspersons, in part to push for a multimillion-dollar U.N. conference on building in Macau.

He faces charges of conspiracy, bribery and tax fraud in connection with the scheme. He is charged with five others, including Francis Lorenzo, a deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic.

Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng and an assistant, Jeff Yin, were also charged Tuesday. Both were arrested last month on separate charges of falsely claiming that $4.5 million they brought into the United States from China from 2013 to 2015 was meant for gambling or buying art, antiques or real estate.

According to the complaint filed in federal court in New York, the bribes were arranged through a New York-based nonprofit organization. Two officials with that organization were also charged as part of the probe.

The complaint says the scheme unfolded from 2011 through 2014 and included Ashe's tenure with U.N.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.