A U.S. grand jury has indicted former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe on suspicion of accepting more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for promoting the interests of a Chinese businessman.
John Ashe was Antigua and Barbuda's U.N. ambassador from 2004 until his election as president of the 68th General Assembly in 2013. His indictment Tuesday came two weeks after his arrest in suburban New York City.
The indictment also names billionaire Macau-based real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, also known as David Ng, and three others.
In a 37-page complaint released October 6 by U.S. prosecutors in New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara cited Ashe's alleged acceptance of at least $1.3 million in bribes from Ng in 2013 and 2014 and his failure to pay taxes on them.
Ng was arrested last month on separate charges and later placed under house arrest under a $50 million bond.
Prosecutors allege Ng was seeking Ashe's influence as far back as 2011 to promote the construction of a multibillion-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, Francis Lorenzo, was also indicted Tuesday.
Lorenzo was deputy ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
Investigators allege that Ng funneled the bribes to Ashe, 61, through at least two nongovernmental organizations. While not identified in the complaint, the two match the description of South-South News — a media platform covering global development from the United Nations, governments and the private sector — and the Global Sustainability Foundation.
Lorenzo is listed as president of South-South, while Ashe is listed as honorary chairman of the Global Sustainability Foundation.
Sheri Yan, CEO of Global Sustainability, was also named in Tuesday's indictment.
The indictment did not include a sixth original suspect, Global Sustainability finance director Heidi Park.