Federal law-enforcement authorities are investigating an alleged bribery scheme involving payments to officials at the United Nations to gain support for real-estate development in Macau, people familiar with the matter said.
The president of the United Nations General Assembly said “corruption has no place” there, after prosecutors accused one of his predecessors of accepting more than half a million dollars in bribes from Chinese businesses.
Former UNGA president John Ashe used some bribe money to fly his family to New Orleans, where they stayed in an $850-a-night hotel room, according to court documents filed today.
Prosecutors say other money was used to lease a luxury car, pay Ashe’s home mortgage, buy Rolex watches and custom suits, and construct a $30,000 basketball court at his home in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he was arrested Tuesday. He opened two bank accounts to receive the funds and then underreported his income by more than $1.2 million, officials said.
Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served in the largely ceremonial post as head of the 193-nation assembly from September 2013 to September 2014, faces tax fraud charges in what authorities call a conspiracy with five others, including Francis Lorenzo, a deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic who lives in the Bronx.