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Former USC Coach Tony Bland Gets 2 Years Probation For Las Vegas Bribe By Dawkins

By Matthew Russell Lee, #SDNYLIVE, Scope

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 5 – Former USC assistant basketball coach Tony Bland was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hour of community service on June 5 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos. Bland will also have to pay back the $4,100 payment he received, on video tape in a hotel room in Las Vegas, from co-defendant Christian Dawkins.

  Before Judge Ramos passed sentence, Bland's defense lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman described Bland's tough childhood in Watts, comparing it to his own and to that of Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli Mark. Lichtman and Mark has faced off at a sentencing only the day before, of Municipal Credit Union former CEO Kam Wong who, for stealing $9.8 million to spend on lottery tickets was sentenced to 66 months in prison by SDNY Judge John Koeltl. Inner City Press coverage here.

 Lichtman said that while there had been a lot of angry victim letters against his client Kam Wong, there were none against Tony Bland. He said that Bland has become a friend. Kam Wong, apparently, not so much.

  Judge Ramos, in his courtroom where he recently heard the Trump v. Deutsche Bank case now on appeal to the Second Circuit [Inner City Press coverage here], asked AUSA Mark if the allegedly victimized student athletes had spoken to the grand jury. This question was understandably not answered, at least not as to the grand jury.

  He said that the legitimacy or not of not paying college athletes had not played a role in his view of the case or sentencing. He praised Bland for, despite his childhood, having had no criminal history before this, and even now only a non-violent offense. He disagreed with Lichtman's statement, or argument, that Bland is "finished." He may not work in basketball but it is a big world. The case is US v. Evans, et al., 17-cr-684 (Ramos).

Back in May 9 in the NCAA college basketball bribery trial before Judge Ramos, the jury found Christian Dawkins guilty on two of the six counts against him, Merl Code of only one. Code by the elevator outside the courtroom told the press that there had been no evidence showing him bribing any one but that the verdict is the verdict and that he and his legal team with work on it.

 Afterward just outside the courthouse where it is allowed to film, Inner City Press asked Dawkins' lawyer Steve Haney if he thinks U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman should be going after bigger fish ("yes") and about the Pre Sentencing Reports and possible concurrent running of this new sentence with the six months imposed on Dawkings in the previous James Gatto case. Video here. We'll have more on this.

  There is a continuum of focus on the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ranging down from investigations of Donald Trump through this coming week's narrowing NCAA basketball corruption trial down to the extremely narrow prosecution of only Patrick Ho for United Nations bribery. 

While rarely viewed together, there is a pattern here,  examined below. On the morning of May 6 Christian Dawkins' attorney Steve Haney played audio clips and said they showed Dawkins may have paid players and their families but did not pay coaches. Rather, he just took Jeff D'Angelo's money. Haney urged the jury, to begin deliberating later in the day, NOT to get on Jeff D'Angelo's yacht but rather to say bon voyage to his, a government agent, and the government's case. There was Merl Code in a conversation on wire tap about taking D'Angelo's money by taking up to Madison Square Garden to meet Melo and Porginzis, and a reference (in the transcript) to "[U/I] Williamson." Can you say, Zion?

On the afternoon of May 3 On the morning of May 3 Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk ran out the clock until 2 pm, pushing the defense summations back until May 6. Solowiejczyk showed exhibits about "taking care of the moms" of Jahvon Quinerly, admitted that Marty Blazer is a convicted fraudster and closed by accusing Merl Code of "conscious avoidance." The defense projected using two hours, then the final U.S. statement in 45 monhts or less. Earlier on May 3 Judge Edgardo Ramos read his charge to the jury, omitting the state law of Oklahoma and California (of Tony Bland). Then Assistant U.S. Attorney Solowiejczyk called Christian Dawkins a liar, playing audio that he and Preston Murphy DID spoke about a Marcus, Marcus Foster who played for Creighton, not the Marcus Phillips Dawkins (he said) made up making up. The back of the courtroom was full of other Assistant U.S. Attorneys, either cheering or learning; they are sure to go over this one. Was the strategy of defending or objecting to the exposure of the wider corruption of college basketball in order to increase the odds of convicting Dawkins and Merl Code the right one? Is so, for whom? They've done it on the UN, and the corruption continues.

  On the morning of May 2, Christian Dawkins was still on the stand, telling the jury how the value to him of Assistant Coach Book Richardson was sending him NBA veterans; he said "Book is going to send me kids anyway." The government objected to mentions of Sean Miller paying prospects, or "kids." Inner City Press was told there had been no mention of any unsealing of sidebar transcripts, a topic on which we may have more.

  On May 1 Inner City Press went to cover the charging conference in Courtroom 619 of 4 Foley Square. There, significantly, the state laws of Oklahoma and California (read, Tony Bland of USC) were dropped from the charge; South Carolina (Lamont Evans) and Arizona remain. While quite civil, a majority of defense proposals by Allen Cheney were overruled, in most cases in favor of previously used language or at the insistence of Assistant US Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk.  It remains unclear if Merl Code will take the stand, and therefore if a conscious avoidance charge might be needed, and how it might be worded. The parties agreed that the charge should be read before their closing statements, which will be pushed back at least until Friday, with other issues pending.

Earlier on May 1, defendant Christian Dawkins told the jury among other things that the approach of paying college coaches was not the most effective way, since NBA prospects essentially already have agents by the time they show up for their one year of college. It's not even a full year: Dawkins said that the moment the team is eliminated from March Madness, the "one and done" prospect leaves school. See @SDNYLIVE here, a response.

   On April 30 government cooperating witness Munish Sood was asked about his motives: to avoid a $750,000 fine and being charged with lying to FBI agents, which charged the defense argued would normally not be forgiven by "the Southern District of New York," meaning the prosecutors not the court.

  The government objected to a question for Sood's net worth, and Judge Edgardo Ramos sustained the objection. Sood's previous role in a bank in New Jersey came up, without the bank being named. Inner City Press reports that it was First Choice Bank, which was bought by Berkshire Bank whose checks Sood later used for bribes. Notably, Berkshire Bank has removed from its website the page about its purchase of First Choise Bank, and Sood's services, for $117 million. But still online is their press release of a deal with Sood's Princeton Advisory Group, here...

  On April 29 at 2:30 pm after Sood quoted defendant Christian Dawkins that directly paying players and deal with their parents was "cleaner" than working through coaches like Tony Bland, a discovery dispute erupted. The defense team does not want to turn over its members' and former member's notes with witnesses they seek to call. Judge Ramos noted that the former defense lawyer was still counsel of record and had not been relieved. Whereupon the defense asked for a sidebar conversation out of the hearing of those like Inner City Press still in the courtroom. But the sidebar discussion was still transcribed by the official court reporter.

  When the sidebar was over nothing was said about its contents except a request by the defense that the transcript be sealed. Judge Edgardo Ramos asked if any of the parties objected - no question was asked to the press, or for the public - and the motion to seal was granted, subject the judge said to any more "by the parties." We'll have more on this.

  Earlier on April 29 Sood interpreted for the jury a series of video clips in which Christian Dawkins said that Lamont Evans was not worth the $4,000 a month bribe, unlike Book Richardson, and that his company LOYD Inc should focus more on paying the coaches for particular transactions rather than retainers. Sood recounted how he took $25,000 in cash and deposited in LOYD's account in New Jersey with Bank of America.

The first week of the trial ended on April 26 with Munish Sood being asked about a $2,000 Berkshire Bank check he wrote to Lamont Evans, after he said Marty Blazer harassed him to give Evans money. He testified about a meeting in Miami, adding that he personally liked Christian Dawkins, whom he is testifying against. At 2:30 pm after he stepped down and the jury left the defense pointed out that Juror #3 has been nodding off. Judge Edgardo Ramo said, Let's see what happens on Monday and if necessary, a heart to heart. The government for its part argued that the juror with eyes closed might still be listening....

   Earlier on April 26 the lawyer for Christian Dawkins mocked government witness Marty Blazer for his lack of knowledge about basketball recruit rules and got Blazer to answer questions about a Creighton player named Marcus Phillips who never, he then revealed, played for Creighton. There was an immediate sidebar with Judge Edgardo Ramos, then soon thereafter a five minute break. Or breakdown, fast break. See @SDNYLIVE.

On April 25 a lawyer for Merl Code started to cross examine government witness Marty Blazer. Blazer insisted on called Merl "Merrill," leading to him being asked if he knew Merl Code at all. Blazer began paying Lamont Evans, for whom the overall case is named, in April or May 2016, and only met Merl or Merrill Code in June 2017. That's what things ended for the day, with Code's lawyer being told an objection to his questions had only been sustained as to form. It will continue on April 26; watch @SDNYLIVE's feed.

Earlier on April 25 the government played for the jury video tapes of Christian Dawkins with Marty Blazer and Tony Bland of University of Southern California, along with an undercover agent pixelated and obscured. From the witness stand Blazer said Dawkins told Jeff that Bland "needs $13,000," tying it to "grassroots player" Marvin Bagley. It got more specific: if they could get Bagley, a slew of low first round NBA draft picks would follow, they would have to hire underlings. Next the government turned to Preston Murphy of Creighton, who Blazer said needed $6,000. This after, on video, a white envelope said to contain cash changed hands. In the back of the courtroom other Assistant US Attorneys were watching -- while across the street in 40 Foley Square, one arrived late for a 12:30 sentencing before Judge Alison Nathan, now postponed to April 26. We'll have more on this.

 On April 24 Blazer still on direct examination interpreted audio recordings for the jury, for example that head coaches' wives soon after the promotion from assistant coach get better clothes "and surgury." On the role of assistant coaches he gave the example of Boston Celtics player P.J. Dozier while at University of South Carolina dealing much more with assistant Lamont Evans than with the head coach. Objections were dealt with crisply: "Objection - foundation. "Overrule." "Thank you, your Honor."

  On April 23 the defense lawyer for Christian Dawkins told the jury that Dawkins told Book Richardson "I'm Gucci" then translated that as "I'm good" and don't need money. The lawyer for Merl Code said Code told the FBI's undercover yachtsman NOT to pay money to his coaches, before traveling to the Las Vegas meeting. The government doggedly read stipulations into the record and called their first witness, Chance Miller of University of South Carolina (and New York Law School before that). We'll have more on the trial - watch this site and see the @SDNYLIVE feed, here.

On April 22 SDNY Judge Edgardo Ramos completed jury selection with Merl Code and Christian Dawkins in large courtroom 23B. Forteen jurors - including two alternates - were selected, and then led off to the jury room for orientation. Judge Ramos then asked the government who will be its witnesses on April 23, after opening statements. The answer: Chance Miller who works in compliance for South Carolina, with direct examination anticipated for an hour, then Marty Blazer for the beginning of eight to ten hours of direct. The defense said there something they aim to raise on the morning of April 23, while the jurors as Judge Ramos put it have bagel but no omelet station, but that they all need to confer to plan how to raise it. Jude Ramos said he looks forward to it. So do we. As he'd previewed at the April 19 final pre-trial conference, Judge Ramos asked prospective jurors if they had any preconceived notions of Adidas or Nike or Under Armour, as well as standard questions about tax disputes, search warrants and cooperating witnesses. Inner City Press was in the courtroom; other media, it seemed, will come later in the afternoon or tomorrow when the opening statements take place.

  The U.S. Attorney for the SDNY in connection with the April 19 final pre-trial conference before the April 22 jury selection for Merl Code and Christian Dawkins argued AGAINST the case looking into wider NCAA corruption, through compelled testimony by LSU coach Will Wade and Arizona coach Sean Miller. At best, the U.S. Attorney to ensure most effective prosecution of Dawkins and Code does not want to the case to "go big" into wider corruption.    

But this issue arose in the U.S. Attorney's Office's UN corruption cases too. Then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara when he indicted Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng said the case would show whether bribery is business as usual at the UN. Then his Office cut deals with Dominican Ambassador Francis Lorenzo and businesswoman Sheri Yan, and never pursued the ongoing corruption at the UN. Ng, and only Ng, was convicted.  

The China Energy Fund Committee's Patrick Ho openly used the UN General Assembly to bribe the body's then-president Sam Kutesa; CEFC tried to buy the oil company of Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation which paid money to current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

  But the U.S. Attorney's Office only went after Ho, cutting a deal with also-briber Cheikh Gadio and merely getting the testimony of bribee former PGA Vuk Jeremic. And so the UN continues, under Guterres, to become ever more corrupt.   

Will it be the same with the NCAA and its March Madness? With the follow up on the Mueller report? Inner City Press, which while still banned from the UN by Guterres continues to pursue the corruption left and growing in the UN (see documentary here), will be covering the Code and Dawkins NCAA trial before SDNY Judge Edgardo Ramos from April 22, and the range of prosecutions in the SDNY where the U.S. Attorney's office goes hard against lower down street level dealers while the cancers spread. Watch this site.

Background: Patrick Ho was sentenced to 36 months in jail for UN bribery and having "sold weapons enthusiastically," along with a $400,000 fine imposed by U.S. District Court for the Soutern District of New York Judge Loretta Preska on March 25. While the UN has yet to even audit the activities of Ho's China Energy Fund Committee in the UN, prosecutor Daniel C. Richenthal in Monday's sentencing proceeding said Ho and CEFC "sold weapons enthusiastically." Afterward Inner City Press, which has asked the UN for its response, asked Ho's defense lawyer Edward Y. Kim if he will appeal. We are considering our options, Kim said. Post-sentencing Periscope video here.

  Inner City Press immediately emailed a question to the UN and Guterres and his spokesmen on March 25, and on March 26, and on March 27, this: "March 27-3: On UN bribery, on March 25 Patrick Ho of the China Energy Fund Committee was sentenced to 36 months in prison and a $400,000 fine for his UN bribery; in today's proceeding Ho was described as using a UN NGO to "sell weapons enthusiastically." What now is SG Antonio Guterres' comment and action? Will he now begin an audit of CEFC in the UN?  What is the SG's comment and response to this 22 minute documentary about Patrick Ho and CEFC's bribes through the UN including Mr. Guterres' refusal to answer Inner City Press' question on it on 5 December 2018 at Min 17.  Again, the  sentencing memorandum includes quotes from his e-mails regarding aiming to violate sanctions and deal in arms not only to Chad but also South Sudan, Libya & Qatar. What is the SG's comment and action? Again, why has no audit even been begun of CEFC, at least like the one Mr. Guterres' predecessor did of Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Foundation? Why did Mr Guterres omit payments from Gulbenkian Foundation, which sought to sell its oil company Partex to CEFC China Energy, from his public financial disclosure covering 2016? Where are the more recent public financial disclosures - has Mr. Guterres ended that program? Why?"

  On March 28 this came in from the UN and we publish it in full: "On your question March 27-3, we can say that the Organization takes note of the sentencing of Mr. Chi Ping Patrick Ho to 36 months’ imprisonment and a US$400,000 fine. The UN has cooperated extensively in this matter by making thousands of pages of documents available and providing access to its personnel." What about an audit? Why hasn't Guterres disclosed his own financial links? We'll have more on this, and on his and the UN's censorship.

  During the sentencing proceeding it was said that Ho had, in the MCC, mentored another inmate sentenced by Preska. (The odds of that need to be calculated.) The MCC bought Ho a violin; Richenthal said Ho had hidden and liquidated a Swiss bank account while incarcerated. While no Supervised Release was ordered, with the understanding that Ho will be removed from the U.S. once his sentence is up, it has emerged that Ho's passport has expired and has not been renewed. We'll have more on this.

  While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was refusing throughout 2018 to begin any UN audit into China Energy Fund Committee, implicated in the UN bribery prosecution US v Patrick Ho, Guterres had a secret: his role on the board of Gulbenkian Foundation which was trying to sell its Partex Oil affiliate to CEFC. See Inner City Press' first exclusive report here.

   Now later of March 25 Ho is set to be sentenced by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Preska. In the run up, RTHK Television in Hong Kong has broadcast a 21 minute documentary, complete with Guterres refusing to answer Inner City Press' questions about the verdict, here at Minute 17. With 300,000 views in Chinese, it is set to be re-released in English after the sentencing.

  While Guterres continues to ban from entry the Press which asked him about his CEFC links, now in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York the sentencing of Patrick Ho, long set for March 14, has been pushed back to March 25. Now the government has filed its sentencing submission, asking for at east five years imprisonment and a fine of $400,000. It notes Ho's own emails saying that it is the Belt and Road Initiative that is up for sentencing / implicated: " In one email, for example, he stated: “Please tell SH [i.e., Shanghai, the headquarters of CEFC China] that we need solidarity most at this time, and cannot be divided. . . . Please tell SH, if we are on the same line, with their support, I will fight to the very end. For it is not only HO who is on trial, it is [CEFC NGO], the Company, Country and Chinese values are on trial.” And in a phone call, he stated that “they,” apparently referring to the Government, are using him to get to the “big tiger,” and to discredit “The Belt and Road,” an initiative of the Chinese government." But it is the UN too, so corrupted under Guterres there has yet to be an audit of CEFC in the UN, its business with other PGAs and UN officials, its invitation to Peter Thomson and others - and its attempt to buy the oil company of Gulbenkian Foundation which paid money to Guterres. Here from the sentencing submission is an indication of whom and what these UN officials do business with: " the defendant sent his assistant an email stating, “I am going to BJ [i.e., Beijing] this Friday to see [the Chairman of CEFC NGO and CEFC China] on Sat afternoon. The documents I want to send him before hand in separate items are: . . . 7. Iranian connection (brief).”7  Other items in the numbered list included “[a] few PR items in the US with photo of PGA Kutesa,” “Chad President Report (brief),” “Croatia Oil company,” “PAZ Oil company,” and “Husky Oil team (Canada).” On the same date, the defendant sent his assistant another email, attaching a document, which stated, in pertinent part: 7) Iranian Connection . . . Iran has money in a Bank in china which is under sanction. Iran wishes to purchase precious metal with this money. The precious metal is available through a Bank in HK which cannot accept money from the Bank in China which holds the money but is under sanction. The Iranian agent is looking for a Chinese company acting as a middle man in such transactions and will pay commission. (details to be presented orally) The Iranian connection has strong urge to establish trading relationship with us in oil and products . . . . The following year, in June 2015, the defendant received an email that stated, in pertinent part: “The Iranian team will arrive in BJ . . . . See the attached.” The attachment referenced in the email was a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Presentation to Potential Partners Iran Petroleum Investments'"... an individual sent the defendant an email, stating, “I have the list and end user agreement. Pls advise next step.” On the same day, the defendant replied, in pertinent part, “Find a way to pass them onto me and we can execute that right away[].” The individual replied, “Attached. [W]e have the funding and processing mechanisms in place. If it works nice there will be much more. Also for S. Sudan.” The attachment to this email was a document entitled “End User Certificate,” certifying that the user of the goods in question would be the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Libya. The goods listed on the document included numerous arms, including “mortar rounds,” “ammunition,” “anti-tank . . . launcher,” “rocket launchers,” and “grenade launchers.” The following month, the defendant sent an email that stated in pertinent part: “It so turns out Qatar also needs urgently a list of toys from us. But for the same reason we had for Libya, we cannot sell directly to them. Is there a way you could act as an intermediary in both cases?” The person whom the defendant emailed replied: “Qatar good chance bc there is no embargo. Libya is another case bc going against an embargo is tricky.” The defendant responded: “Qatar needs new toys quite urgently. Their chief is coming to China and we hope to give them a piece of good news. Please confirm soonest.” Weapons, new toys for Qatar, the offer of weapons to Chad for oil - all through the UN, unaudited by SG Guterres with his own conflict of interest and financial connection to CEFC. We'll have more on this. Ho  filed a more than one hundred page sentencing submission, the memo accompanying which says "Beginning in 2013, the CEFC Think Tank also held annual symposia at the United Nations (“UN”) devoted to issues raised at the most recent annual political convention in China. In addition, the CEFC Think Tank, in consultation with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (“UN-DESA”), established and funded the “Powering the Future We Want” grant—an annual $1 million award for a promising sustainable energy project (the “Energy Grant”). The CEFC Think Tank donated approximately $2 million to the UN every year to fund the prize and its administration." And yet Guterres has never audited this, choosing instead to rough up and ban the Press which asked him why he wouldn't audit (the answer seems to be Guterres' paid position with the Gulbenkian Foundation which tried to sell its oil company to CEFC). Ho's sentencing submission index  lists Frederick Tschernutter and former Shell Oil CEO John D. Hofmeister. UNSG Antonio Guterres, of course, has refused to audit Ho's CEFC's activities in the amid his conflict of interest and censorship. In the UN Committee on Non Governmental Organizations on January 21 the US belatedly requested the suspension or dis-accreditation of CEFC from the UN. This is what Guterres has refused to act on for more than a year, while concealing his links to the group. CEFC was given until Friday, January 25 to answer on the issues. The acting chief of the UN NGO branch on Friday afternoon said it had not responded. Pakistan and Russia raised questions if this meant that as a matter of precedent it should have its status withdrawn. On January 28 following a written inquiry by Inner City Press a self-described diplomat on the NGO committee confirmed that "the NGO Committee recommended that ECOSOC consultative status be withdrawn for CEFC.  ECOSOC will decide whether to approve the NGO Committee’s recommendation at its June 2019 ECOSOC management meeting." So they're still in. Guterres' cover up of his link to the group remains unaddressed - with no answers from his spokesmen Stephane Dujarric and for this entire week, Farhan Haq. We'll have more on this.
 Inner City Press on the morning of January 21 wrote to Guterres, Alison Smale and their spokesmen: "January 21-1: Please immediately provide the SG's response on the request made this morning in the UN NGO Committee to disaccredit China Energy Fund Committee whose Patrick Ho was indicted and convicted of UN bribery, explain why SG Guterres never even started a OIOS audit of CEFC and why he omitted his paid directorship in Gulbenkian Foundation from his UN Public Financial Disclosure form covering 2016, and on Gulbenkian trying to sell its Partex Oil to CEFC China Energy in 2018." There's been no answer - as there have been no answers from Guterres and Smale and Dujarric for two weeks despite promises to UNSR David Kaye and on camera. And the UN's "meeting summary" omitted even Patrick Ho's name, much less the UNSG Guterres never audited CEFC as it tried to buy Partex Oil from the Gulbenkian Foundation Guterres was a paid board member of while omitting it from his public financial disclosure covering 2016. Here is the entirety of the UN meetings coverage on this: "The representative of the United States, expressing regret that some organizations come to the United Nations to perpetrate fraudulent and illicit activities, said her delegation wrote to the Committee last week requesting that the special consultative status granted in 2011 to the China Energy Fund Committee be withdrawn, after one of its officials was convicted by a United States federal court in November 2018 on corruption, money laundering and conspiracy charges.  The Committee must take prompt action, she said, adding that if the organization in question wishes to respond, it should do so before 25 January."

  Inner City Press also wrote to three at the US Mission to the UN: "I noticed in the UN NGO Committee this morning that USUN belatedly requested a review of China Energy Fund Committee, whose Patrick Ho was indicted for UN bribery, FCPA and money laundering in 2017, convicted in 2018.    This is a Press request for a copy of the USUN statement read out in the NGO Committee, for the materials reference there in and distributed to Committee members, and for the Mission's / Amb Cohen's and Amb. Currie's comment on it, why it took so long, and on UNSG Antonio Guterres having not disclosed his paid directorship of Gulbenkian Foundation in his UN Public Financial Disclosure form covering 2016 and refusal to start any OIOS audit of CEFC, which was trying to buy Partex Oil and Gas from Gulbenkian in 2018.     Also, on Guterres and Alison Smale's ongoing ban on US-based investigative Inner City Press even entering the UN, without hearing or appeal, see 2 January 2019 Kaska-eque denial of accreditation, below." USUN Spokesperson John Degory responded, so far, with the text of Deputy Rep to ECOSOC Courtney Nemroff's remarks including: "Last week, we sent a Diplomatic Note to the Committee’s outgoing Chair and to all members of this Committee with our request that this Committee recommend withdrawing the ESOCOC special consultative status of the NGO China Energy Fund Committee, or CEFC, which was granted in 2011.  This request was carefully considered and is being made in the first session of this Committee following the conviction of an individual in U.S. federal court on serious criminal charges relating to his use of the organization as a platform for criminal activity, the details of which are provided in the Diplomatic Note. It is a shame to see an NGO subvert and manipulate its ECOSOC accreditation in this manner, so it is with deep disappointment that we bring this situation to the attention of the Committee today. We are making this request before the full Committee in the full interest in due diligence, transparency, and openness. We believe it is important that the Committee carry out its responsibility to protect and ensure the continued integrity of the ECOSOC accreditation process by taking prompt action to address this case.  CEFC is registered in both Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and in the State of Virginia in the United States as a not-for-profit or charitable organization. CEFC received ECOSOC special consultative status in 2011.  On December 5, 2018, a jury in a Manhattan federal court found Chi Ping Patrick Ho, CEFC’s Deputy Chairman and Secretary General, guilty of taking part in a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe foreign leaders in exchange for business advantages for CEFC China Energy a Shanghai-based corporate entity that was the primary financial benefactor of the CEFC. Mr. Ho was convicted of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, international money laundering, and conspiracy to commit both. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, he utilized CEFC’s ECOSOC special consultative status to access UN resources and people and advance commercial goals, including through bribery schemes. We also have been unable to document any activity by this organization out of its Virginia-based location since Mr. Ho’s arrest in 2016, and note that it has not filed the requisite tax documents required of not-for-profit organizations in the United States since that date. We have provided all NGO Committee members with further details on the case, including a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice on the conviction, and are prepared to provide member states with any additional information they may require.  ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 governs the process for ECOSOC consultative status. Article 57(a) of 1996/31 stipulates that the consultative status of non-governmental organizations shall be suspended up to three years or withdrawn “if an organization, either directly or through its affiliates or representatives acting on its behalf, clearly abuses its status by engaging in a pattern of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”  Article 57(b) of 1996/31 further stipulates that consultative status be suspended up to three years or withdrawn “if there exists substantiated evidence of influence from proceeds resulting from internationally recognized criminal activities such as the illicit drugs trade, money-laundering or the illegal arms trade.”  In view of the conviction of Mr. Ho on money laundering charges and the use of the organization for criminal activity and bribery activities that involved the use of the organization’s consultative status and other organizational resources, the United States has determined that a request to withdraw consultative status in accordance with Article 57 of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 is appropriate and necessary. We believe the Committee has a responsibility to ensure that ECOSOC special consultative status is not misused as a platform for criminal activity.  We understand, per ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, that CEFC has the right to respond to the request to recommend withdrawal of its consultative status. We request that the Secretariat inform CEFC of its right to respond immediately. We further request that if CEFC chooses to respond, that the Secretariat request it do so before the tenth meeting of this Committee on Friday, January 25, to then allow this Committee sufficient time to consider the U.S. request further. We also remain prepared to provide additional information regarding this matter to the Secretariat, and encourage the Committee and the Secretariat to handle all proceedings in this case as openly and transparently as possible." But will the US administration, or if necessary individual members of Congress, ensure that Guterres is held accountable for the cover up and proliferation of corruption and censorship during his tenure? CEFC has until January 25 to respond. China did not respond in the ill-attended Committee meeting which Inner City Press, banned from entry by Guterres, never the less covered. Watch this site.

  Inner City Press continues its exclusive series on some of the CEFC connections in and through the UN that should have been identified in the audit that Guterres corruptly refused to begin, with his conflict of interest. (Even his predecessor Ban Ki-moon ordered an audit after Ng Lap Seng was indicted - Guterres still hasn't after Patrick Ho was convicted.)

  One of the people identified in the Ban Ki-moon audit of Ng Lap Seng and South South News was Ion Botnaru. He was allowed to retire, after changing a UN General Assembly document along with then President of the General Assembly John Ashe, who died under indictment ostensibly crushed by his own barbell, to benefit Ng's Sun Kian Ip group. Botnaru reappears again with CEFC, here. And, crying out for audit, the President of the General Assembly who swore in Guterres, Peter Thomson of Fiji, traveled like Ashe and Vuk Jeremic and Sam Kutesa to meet CEFC's Ye Jianming in Hong Kong.

  Inner City Press has asked Guterres and his spokespeople, among many other questions, "Beyond the 37 questions from Inner City Press you refused to answer last week, still set forth below for promised answer, this is a request, given that Peter Thomson is the SG's rep on Oceans that you describe in detail Thomson's 2017 meeting with now disappeared Ye Jianming of CEFC, name which UN DSS officials were with him and what reports they filed, what their duties were; what was seen by those accompanying Thomson, at least two of whom are still in the UN (one is with China)."

  Typically, Guterres and his spokespeople did not answer. So here, pending listing those from UN Department of Safety and Security the group which roughs up the Press without accountability and maintains a retaliatory "lifetime" banned from the UN list, are the names: "During his two-day visit, the President of the UN General Assembly was accompanied by his senior advisors Abdelghani Merabet, and Zhang Yi, as well as by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’s Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Zhu Juwang." Now, Thomson staffer or embed Zhang Yi has gone (back, or more openly) to working for the Chinese government: "On August 14 [2018], Deputy Director-General of China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges Zhang Yi was invited to attend the FOCAC - Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, an important sub-forum under the FOCAC hosted by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and co-organized by the International Poverty Reduction Center in China and the China Belt and Road Institute for Agricultural Cooperation of China Agriculture University. Attending were more than 300 participants including government officials, international organizations’ representatives, non-governmental organizations’ officials, business leaders, experts and scholars from China, United States, Japan, Denmark and 40 African countries like Angola, Botswana and Mauritius."

  What did they see during Thomson's meeting with now-known briber Ye Jianming? Zhu Juwang  is still with UN DESA; Abdelghani Merabet  is with the current PGA. We'll have more on this: the UN should be answering these questions, now.

  In 2017, the year in which CEFC's Patrick Ho was indicted and arrested for UN bribery, CEFC in the UN engaged at least twice with Lenni Montiel, including for example on 6 July 2017, and also with DESA official Pingfan Hong. Some photos here. Inner City Press before Guterres had it roughed up and banned now 176 days for its inquiries into Guterres' corruption has politely questioned both Montiel and Hong - but Guterres has made that impossible and his Spokesmen refused to answer any written questions, for more than a week now. There are more connections.


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