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In 1st UN Bribery Case Ng Lap Seng Is Denied Bail on Appeal As Argues UN Not Covered, Not Audited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 – Eight months after the UN bribery conviction of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, on March 30 the prosecution asked for a jail term of over six years and a $2 million fine. On May 11 Ng was sentenced to four years in jail, and ironically to pay the legal fees of the UN, which even under the prosecutors' press release he corrupted. At the UN, Carlos Garcia who facilitated Ng's bribes to Francis Lorenzo's family in the Dominican Republic was at the General Assembly stakeout at this month as exclusively reported by Inner City Press. Ng even after sentencing is still under house arrest, but that may end. After an oral argument on June 26 in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Ng's bid to remain even longer in his apartment on 47th Street was denied. “It is hereby ordered that appellant’s motion is DENIED, because he has failed to show that the district court clearly erred in its risk of flight determination,” the court’s order sys, and “It is further ordered that the appeal is expedited.” Ng's lawyer Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis claims that the UN is not the kind of "organization" Congress was talking about in the law prohibiting bribery connected to organizations that receive federal funds. So the UN can be bribed at will? The UN has no law against it, and current SG Guterres does not even order an audit of China Energy Fund Committee, the second UN bribery case which seems linked to the first - CEFC invited John Ashe to China as well. We'll have more on this.

And this: in the underlying Ng Lap Seng indictment there was a Co-Conspirator 3 who also bribed UN President of the General Assembly John Ashe. This CC-3 has now been identified as Chau Chak Wing by Australian MP Andrew Hastie, chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. Hastie recently met with US authorities about espionage and foreign interference legislation, and said it was during those discussions he confirmed the "long-suspected identity of CC-3" as Dr Chau."The same man who co-conspired to bribe the United Nations president of the General Assembly, John Ashe," Hastie said in a speech in the Australian Parliament’s Federation Chamber. On May 22, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, in… in what was called the John Ashe case, a businessman, Mr. Chau Chak Wing has been identified as Co-conspirator 3 in… that was in the indictment.  And it's caused quite a furore in Australia, but I guess my question is, given that the UN did, in that case, unlike the Patrick Ho case, conduct an audit, did the UN know the identity of Co-conspirator 3?  And what does it show you now, given… given Mr. Chau Chak Wang's other… Wing's other… other roles?  What does it mean for the UN that he, according to intelligence sources and now, as stated in the Australian Parliament, paid a $200,000 bribe to a then-sitting President of the General Assembly?

Spokesman:  I think we've commented on the case, and we have cooperated fully with the Federal host authorities here on the conclusion of the case.

Inner City Press:  But it doesn't… so this doesn't change the ca… the idea that this is a sitting… this is a person that's actually tied directly to the Chinese Communist Party?

Spokesman:  I've said… this is what I've had to say.

Inner City Press:  It doesn't change…

Spokesman:  "This is what I've had to say.  Thank you.
"
O
n May 11 Ng was sentenced to four years in jail, and ironically to pay the legal fees of the UN, which even under the prosecutors' press release he corrupted? The UN, which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for pursuing the extend of Ng's bribery in the UN, including his payments through South South News to the UN Correspondents Association, gave its UN Censorship Alliance scribes a statement that In a statement after the verdict, the UN said it “had cooperated extensively to facilitate the proper administration of justice in this case, by disclosing thousands of documents and waiving the immunity of officials to allow them to testify at trial." This statement, and the UNCA scribes, ignore that the UN is already embroiled in another bribery scandal, that of Patrick Ho and CEFC. Nothing has been reformed; Secretary General Antonio Guterress hasn't even ordered an audit. On May 14, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: On Friday, Ng Lap Seng of South-South News and other fame was sentenced to 48 months in prison for what’s described as bribery of officials at the UN.  I did see that somehow part of the settlement was that the UN’s legal fees would be paid.  So, I had two questions.  Number one, how much are those legal fees?  Number two, in the second what’s described as a UN bribery case involving Patrick Ho and the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), has the UN as of yet rung up any… any legal fees?  And has there as yet been any audit ordered as was audit… ordered in the case of Ng Lap Seng and South-South News? And, if not, why not?

Spokesman:  Regarding the second question, that’s an ongoing case, and we’ll have more details as it proceeds.  Regarding the first, the United Nations had cooperated extensively to facilitate the proper administration of justice in the Ng Lap Seng case by disclosing thousands of documents and waiving the immunity of officials to allow them to testify at trial.  In this regard, the organisation notes the court’s award of $302,000 in restitution to be paid to the United Nations as a victim of these crimes.  Nizar?

Inner City Press: I have a follow-up question… One of the people that testified was… was the person that worked in DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management] and actually changed the GA resolution to put in the name of Sun Kiang Ip foundation as the builder of the… the… the centre in Macau.  Was anything ever done on that?  I think, if you follow the case, you know that that took place.  Yes, bribes were paid allegedly and now convictedly [sic] to… to John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo, but a… a UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] document, once it was passed, was amended by DGACM.  Who did that?  And… and… and are they being held accountable?

Spokesman:  The person who testified in this case has retired from the United Nations." As Inner City Press has previously exclusively reported, that is Ion Botnaru. So, no accountability? And the UN is taking $302,000 in "restitution" while it has paid nothing in restitution for killing 10,000 people with cholera in Haiti? We'll have more on this.
The prosecutors said Ng "was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for his role in a scheme to bribe United Nations ambassadors to obtain support to build a conference center in Macau that would host, among other events, the annual United Nations Global South-South Development Expo.  NG was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick. NG was convicted on July 27, 2017, after a five-week trial, of two counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, one count of paying bribes and gratuities, one count of money laundering, and two counts of conspiracy. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Billionaire Ng Lap Seng corrupted the highest levels of the United Nations in pursuit of a multibillion-dollar real estate deal in Macau.  Ng exploited a center for international diplomacy as an instrument for his greedy intentions.  This Office is committed to policing official corruption wherever it may be found.” Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan said:  “Corruption at any level of government undermines the rule of law and cannot be tolerated.  But corruption is especially corrosive when it occurs at an international body like the United Nations.  By paying bribes to two U.N. ambassadors to advance his interest in obtaining formal support for the Macau conference center project, Ng Lap Seng tried to manipulate the functions of the United Nations.  The sentence handed down today demonstrates that those who engage in corruption will pay a heavy price and serves as a reminder that no one stands above the law.”
The day before, Judge Vernon Broderick denied Ng's request for a new trial and for an investigation of alleged perjury by former South South News chief Francis Lorenzo (who was seen on First Avenue by the UN just days ago). Broderick filed it under seal: "On September 26, 2017, Defendant Ng Lap Seng (“Defendant” or “Ng”) filed a motion for a new trial under Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. (Doc. 653.) Ng also requested that I direct the Government to conduct an independent investigation into Defendant Francis Lorenzo’s (“Lorenzo”) alleged perjury during trial, or in the alternative, to permit Ng to issue a defense subpoena under Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. (Id.) Ng has not established a basis for a new trial or for me to direct the Government to conduct an investigation into Lorenzo’s alleged perjury or authorize a defense subpoena. Accordingly, Ng’s
motion is DENIED. An Opinion and Order explaining my decision has been filed under seal because it relies
upon material that has been filed under seal. A copy has also been sent to counsel by email. By May 16, 2018, the parties shall provide the Court with proposed redactions to the Opinion and Order, if any. I will consider the parties’ proposed redactions and will file a redacted version of the Opinion and Order on the public docket." Meanwhile, until the last day Ng has been requesting visits to his apartment on 47th Street by, most recently, his god-son. (In the second UN bribery case, Patrick Ho is still in jail pending trial.)
The March 30 filing stated that "The defendant, a sophisticated, international businessman, repeatedly used his wealth and power to seek to corrupt decision-making at the United Nations. That was a choice. It warrants substantial and meaningful punishment. The defendant could have sought to persuade the UN and the UN Development Programme (“UNDP”) to support his latest project—a massive real estate development on a manmade island off the coast of Macau, China, including a conference center, luxury hotel, residential apartments, and a high-end shopping mall with brands such as Gucci, to be built by
the defendant’s company—on its purported merits. But the merits of such a project are, at the very least, highly debatable. Building luxury hotels, apartments, and retail outlets may be profitable, but UNDP’s mission is the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequality through sustainable, environmentally responsible development. However, whether the UN or UNDP would have approved of and supported the defendant’s project, or a portion thereof, on the merits is a question to which one cannot know the answer. Because instead of seeking approval and support on the merits, the defendant cheated. Hiding behind and misusing a nongovernmental organization that he founded and funded allegedly to help developing nations rather than himself, the defendant orchestrated and led a scheme to pay bribes to two senior UN ambassadors, one of whom was the elected leader of the UN General Assembly." Note that the next PGA, Sam Kutesa, was allegedly bribed by Patrick Ho of the China Energy Fund Committee, which is STILL in UN ECOSOC. 

  We'll have more on this.

***

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