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In UN Bribery Trial, Ng Lap Seng Guilty on 6 Counts, ICP Asks What He Thinks of UN

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, Video

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 –In the UN bribery prosecution against Ng Lap Seng, the jury on July 27 returned guilty verdicts on all six counts, including money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Inner City Press, which has covered the scandal from the beginning and remains restricted by the UN for its coverage, rushed down to the courthouse and asked Ng Lap Seng, as he left by the side door to Worth Street, what he thinks of the UN and those there who took his money and favors, a list well beyond John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo. Periscope video here. He did not answer, understandable. He will be back in court on August 7 for arguments on if his house arrest can continue. Before Ng left, Inner City Press witnessed his lawyers leaving. They told the judge they will appeal. But now that Ng is guilty, will the UN act on those exposed as corrupt, and reverse its censorship? Earlier on July 27, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on the Ng Lap Seng case, you received this from DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management], so I wanted to ask you, and I appreciate the executive officer, who I don't think is a spokesperson, was willing to answer some questions but I now want to ask you about what he did answer.  What he answered is that, even now, two years or more after the indictment of John Ashe as President of the General Assembly for allegedly using the office to further a business scheme, it seems that DGACM of the Secretariat will do anything that an Office of the PGA [President of the General Assembly] said.  He said, if they request an email address you can receive the email.  He said…

Deputy Spokesman:  I received the email.  That is not what he said.  I would just… you had the language of the email.  Just look directly at what he said.

Inner City Press:
  I'm asking you because I said to him Mr. Francis Lorenzo was never listed as a special adviser on the webpage of the PGA.  He was a full-time Deputy Permanent Representative of a country.  So, does DGACM check these two facts and he said, no.  He said we do what the PGA asks, so I wanted to know:  is that appropriate after two years?

Deputy Spokesman:  If the President of the General Assembly asks for things like office space or desks or computers, they facilitate that.  That was his explanation to you.

Inner City Press:
  What if he asks for change to a UN document that took place under Ian Botnaru to add in the name of a company, is that still the practice at the UN?

Deputy Spokesman:  Those are unrelated issues.

Inner City Press: 
Right, but I'm asking you.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, those are unrelated issues.  He is talking about having appropriate office facilities upon request from the President of the General Assembly.

Inner City Press:
Was it appropriate for DGACM to add the name of the Sun Kiang Ip Foundation to that resolution from an UN perspective?

Deputy Spokesman:  You're aware of the problems that were disclosed at the time and I don't have anything to add to what we said at the time.

Inner City Press: And who was held responsible for adding the name of the company?

Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing to add to what we said at the time.  Have a good afternoon, everyone. Watch this site. On July 26 the jury got the case, after the reading of a 70-page charge and explanation of the six counts, from bribery through Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to money laundering under Antiguan and Dominican law. There were changes to the jury -- Juror #11 became an alternate and #13 took her place -- and instructions were given on how to ask to view evidence or hear the law explained again. Inner City Press had to leave before Ng Lap Seng did, to rush back to the UN before its ongoing 7 pm censorship hour for having dared pursue the Ng Lap Seng and South South News story in the UN. During the reading of the charges, the Executive Officer of the the UN's Department of General Assembly and Conference Management wrote to Inner City Press (below) making it clear that there has been no reform, that for example any new President of the GA could procure false documents from DGACM just like John Ashe did. The UN remains corrupt, and a censor. On July 25 the government and defense traded summations, neither taking on the ongoing corruption of the UN. Prosecutor Janis Echenberg portrayed the UN as something of a victim of Ng Lap Seng, presenting at face value the claims of the UN Development Program's Simon Hannaford that the UN has standards. This is belied not only by UNDP's own history, but also the UN Task Force Report which admits that UN lacks common ethical standards. Since the UN refused to tell the US Attorney who it interviewed for the report, the US knows better. But it is focused only on Ng Lap Seng. On July 26 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about evidence that current UN official Meena Sur helped with Ng's conference center plan. Haq said UN will await outcome of trial. But this, the expanding showing of UN corruption, will of course not be ruled on. Meanwhile after repeated Inner City Press questions, this from the UN's Miguel Mourato Gordo: "Dear Mr. Lee, In response to your e-mail, please note that it is the Organization's practice to facilitate email accounts to members of the Office of the PGA as requested by the PGA. This is similar to outfitting the Office with other tools required to operate such as a phone, a desk, a chair, etc. According to our records, Mr. Lorenzo was outfitted with a UN email account." Inner City Press has asked: "Thanks. But since Lorenzo was not listed as part of Ashe's team and was during the whole year the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN, did DGACM do no due diligence at all? Allowing Lorenzo who has pleaded guilty to present himself to the public as a UN staff member, part of a UN delegation to Macau? Please answer asap - on deadline (charge being read this afternoon in trial.)" And during the reading of the charge, Mr. Gordo replied: "As earlier indicated, it is the Organization's practice to facilitate email accounts to members of the Office of the PGA as requested by the PGA. The Organization trusts the PGA's diligence in setting up his/her Office. " So, no reform, could all happen again. Ng's lawyer Tai Park staked his defense on discrediting government witness Francis Lorenzo, not difficult given his guilty plea and testimony. But Park presented the UN has a victim too, even Yiping Zhou who was so corrupt even the UN was glad how quickly he left after the indictment. This is why the UN is not reformed - this, and the UN's censorship of critical Press coverage, restrictions continued by “new” Secretary General Antonio Guterres. We'll have more on this. In the defense's summation in the UN bribery trial of Ng Lap Seng, along with a withering attack on the credibility of government witness Francis Lorenzo came more evidence of UN corruption. Lorenzo got assistance with Ng's $3 billion Macau convention center plan not only from Yiping Zhou and Ion Botnaru, both gone from the UN, but also Meena Sur, still at the UN. When Ng's wire transfers for Lorenzo to Terra Trading in the Dominican Republic were questioned, Lorenzo got El Salvador's then Permanent Representative Carlos Garcia to write "To Whom It May Concern" in support of the scheme. Inner City Press has asked about the group(s) Garcia continued to squire into the UN, long after Lorenzo was arrested. The UN remains corrupt; its response to coverage is to evict and censor, not to reform. On July 25 between the charging conference and summations, Inner City Press rushed up to the UN to the noon briefing and asked questions that were dodged, in Kafka-esque fashion. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: Today is the… the… the charge conference, and the issues that have come up involve whether Francis Lorenzo was an agent of the UN.  That’s why I guess I just want to ask you once again because it’s coming to a head down there.  You’ve said somehow to ask… maybe I misunderstood you when you said ask the President of the General Assembly how Mr. Lorenzo… about a UN email address.  I can’t really ask Mr. [John] Ashe… who should I ask?

Deputy Spokesman:  Ask… I mean, there’s an office of the President of the General Assembly…

Inner City Press:  I did.  They told me it’s DGACM (Department of General Assembly and Conference Management).  That’s why I’m asking you.

Deputy Spokesman:  I mean, it would have been a decision taken by the President of the General Assembly.  They’ll need to provide you details about that.

Inner City Press:  Was he an agent of the UN?  [inaudible] Given that he’s not a special adviser… he had a business card saying he’s a special adviser to the President of the Assembly, the General Assembly.

Deputy Spokesman:  He had no UN employment, certainly none that I’m aware of.  His employment was with his Mission. ...

NOTE: In court again on July 25 Lorenzo was depicted as employed by the UN, part ofa  UN Delegation to Macau, with Paulette Bethel and Frances Fuller. Is the UN covering up? It continued:

 Inner City Press:   I wanted to ask you… the… first of all, thank your office for saying that Frances Fuller had separated from service.  I wanted to ask you, going… introduced in the court is the attendance list of the Macau conference in August of 2015.  So I wanted to ask you, there… there… one… one… I believe he’s still a UN official, Mr. Navid Hanif, was in attendance.  And I wanted to know, is this something that the UN has ever asked in what capacity it took place?  I know that Mr. [Ian] Botnaru was there.  He’s no longer at the UN.  He was listed in attendance as an Ambassador of Moldova, which he wasn’t at the time.  What follow-through has been made by the UN regarding that conference and still high officials that were there?  Were they interviewed as to why they were there?  Why was he there?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t have any details to share about the ongoing court case.

Inner City Press:   It’s not about the court case.  I’m talking about the UN.

Deputy Spokesman:  It’s actually about information that’s coming up in the court case.  So I wouldn’t comment on it as the process is under way.  Yes, Masood? ...

Inner City Press: This will not be about the court case.  This will be about UN’s own task force report which was… which… which states there are no formal agreed common principles of ethical conduct for financial disclosure measures for the president and the personnel of his office.  And I wanted to know, in the months that António Guterres has been Secretary-General, can you list any reforms whatsoever made both of this portion of the task force report but also of the lapses and loopholes into the system shown by the John Ashe, Ng Lap Seng case?

Deputy Spokesman:  There are a series of reforms that the Secretary-General will be announcing, including management reforms and others.  You’ll know about those in due course.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

  We'll have more on this. The prosecution earlier on July 25 showed photographs of the "UN delegation" to Macau in 2014, including John Ashe and his then-assistant Frances Fuller - and his chief of staff Paulette Bethel. Bethel was never charged by the US Attorney, and many wonder why. The prosecution presented Ion Botnaru and even Yiping Zhou of the UN Office of South South Cooperation as merely doing what "ambassadors" wanted - without asking what Zhou and Botnaru got out of it. Botnaru attended the August 2015 Macau meeting, while still a UN official, listed as Ambassador of Moldova. Also UNexplored: among the South South News consultants cut off along with Ashe's wife Anilla Cherian were another Moldova Permanent Representative to the UN, Alexandru Cujba and Bruce Niswander. Why weren't they interviewed or more? While the prosecution ended with slides of the six counts, from Section 666 and the FCPA including Antiguan and Dominican law, many questions about the UN's own corruption remain. Will they be answered or addressed in the defense's summation? The issue has arisen whether government witness Francis Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty, was a "UN agent." On July 25 just before summations began in the case, Inner City Press rushed from the courthouse to the UN noon briefing and asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq if Lorenzo was a UN agent. Haq said he was only a diplomat of his country, the Dominican Republic. But why then did Lorenzo has a email address, and a business card listing him as a Special Adviser to the President of the General Assembly? Is the UN, in essence, trying to help Ng be found not guilty? We'll have more on this. Haq also refused to answer Inner City Press' question about still UN official Navid Harif's role in Ng's Macau event, saying that's in court - a dodge; Haq could not name a single reform implemented in Guterres' more than six months on these topics, saying only that proposals will be announced in "due course." When? Throughout the morning of July 26 Ng's lawyers raised objections to the 70-page charge sheet, citing the First Amendment - ironic since the UN has none - and the specifics of whether former President of the General Assembly John Ashe and Francis Lorenzo can or must be found to be agents of the UN. As to Lorenzo, the UN has refused to answer Inner City Press' question about Lorenzo's business card listing him, with a email address, as a Special Adviser to the President of the General Assembly. We'll have more on this - the summations scheduled to being at 11 am have been pushed back. The judge has said if deliberations go into next week, there may be only 11 jurors remaining. A record, as they say, is being built. Watch this site. On July 24 after re-direct examination about payments to and from Ng's South South News (the latter including to entities like the UN Correspondents Association), the defense presented a redacted copy of the UN Task Force Report and rested its case. With the record, other than summations and the 70-page charge, now closed it is time to review who, for example, attended Ng's and John Ashe's shadowy August 2015 event in Macau, in furtherance of the $3 billion UN conference center / casino plan. Significant, now the day before the UN Security Council meeting on Burundi where the UN said there's a risk of genocide then did nothing about it, there was the representative of Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, Albert Shingiro. On what basis did he attend? What is his and his government's comment on the corruption trial? There was then UN official Ion Botnaru, never held accountable. Tellingly, he was listed as attending as Ambassador of Moldova, a variation on the UN giving actual Dominican Republic Deputy Permanent Representative Francis Lorenzo a email address then telling Inner City Press to ask the dead John Ashe about it. There was current UN official Navid Hanif, also never held accountable. There was a vice president of the UN Correspondents Association, who even on July 24 retained a double-wide UN office next to the one the UN evicted Inner City Press from for covering the Ng scandal, and came down to ask canned questions for state media (like the Egyptian state media the UN is trying to give Inner City Press' office to). There was Bangladesh Ambassador Momen, who we are told was given a "heads-up" just before the indictments in October 2015 and left the US two days later. Who gave that heads-up? Why? These and other questions Inner City Press will continue on, still restricted 18 months later by the still corrupt UN. Watch this site. On July 24, Ng's defense lawyers read into the record quotes from the UN Task Force Report, for example that "the Task Force found that there are no formal, agreed common principles of ethical conduct or financial disclosure measures for the President and the personnel of the Office." Also that "The Task Force observed that there is a lack of common standards of conduct
expected of Presidents, specifically with regard to the manner in which they conduct themselves as President-elect and when carrying out their presidential functions during their term of office." Ng Lap Seng may be found not guilty on the grounds that the UN is this corrupt. A charge conference and summations are set for July 25; the charge is said to already be 70 pages in length. The UN refused to cooperate about its own Task Force Report, not saying who was interviewed; the bribery defendant used the UN's own works to argue that the UN has no common ethical standards. The U should be ashamed but won't even tell Inner City Press, there every day, if it has anyone monitoring the trial. On July 21 arguments began about "UN documents" that Ng's defense lawyers want to introduce into evidence. This followed the July 20 testimony of the one-time assistance of former President of the UN General Assembly Frances Fuller, of whom Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq in August 2016, here. On July 24, Inner City Press asked Haq again about Fuller, and how Francis Lorenzo got a email. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Last week you said when I asked you why it was that in the Ng Lap Seng case, Francis Lorenzo who has plead guilty to the UN bribery had an UN email address and you said to ask the Office of the President of the General Assembly, so I did.  They cannot obviously answer it because it was two presidents ago.  But, they did say that the DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management], ICT [information and communication technology] focal point is the one that gives out UN email addresses, so I want to reiterate… they can't answer it so it seems like unless the DGACM have a separate spokesperson, can you get an answer from them if Mr. Francis Lorenzo had a UN email address?  And if so, why he did, given that he is not listed among the team, there is still a web page online showing that?

Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding the why, that would be a question for the previous president of the General Assembly.  It's not a decision that was taken by us and it's not something I can speak to.  Regarding… you will have a question after this.  I also have the following statement attributable to the Deputy Spokesman for Secretary-General on Pakistan.  The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, today and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice.  The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes full recovery to those injured.  He supports the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to fight terrorism and violent extremism, with full respect for international human rights norms and obligations.  Yeah?

Question:  Okay, because you say, John Ashe, may he rest in peace, has expired, but does DGACM, if the PGA [President of the General Assembly] today, after the scandal, after the indictments, were to ask… just provides names, would they automatically hand out these email addresses, or is there some standards within the Secretariat as to how to respond to such requests?

Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding that, if someone is hired on as an adviser, you know, in the UN, they are entitled to a UN email address, so they would process that.  I believe that someone has to vouch for the credentials of who are the staff who have entitlement to a UN email address.

Question:  But, who does the vouching, the PGA's office or the Secretariat?  Because he was never pictured on that, essentially an unlisted…

Deputy Spokesman:  That would have to be a decision taken by the President of the General Assembly.

Question:  There is no reform of that?

Deputy Spokesman:  It's not something that I can speak to.  I don't speak for the President of the General Assembly.

Question:  The other question is this, in testifying in the case is Frances Fuller, who was the personal assistant to John Ashe — paid UN staff — attended a conference in Macau and other trips in Macau.  And I wanted to know I asked you about her before because after John Ashe left, she worked for Catherine Pollard and then for ex-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  So, I wanted to know, one, does she still work in the system?  And two, what… did the UN's lawyers Mr. Gitlin or others speak with her before she testified?  And she claimed she didn't remember any of these trips to Macau and yet there were photographs of them, so I wanted to get I guess get your response to a person who stayed on post-Mr. Ashe, testifying in the case and saying I don't remember anything, I have no recollection, et cetera?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'll check to see whether she is with the UN still.

   Later the UN sent Inner City Press this: "Frances Fuller no longer works for the UN (she separated on 14 September 2016)." So why can't or won't the UN provide an answer about Francis Lorenzo's email? It appears that Fuller is now "Project Manager at Sologistics
New York, New York, Environmental Services," after working for Ban Ki-moon for one year and five months. Fuller in court claimed she couldn't remember the details of the Macau trip. Inner City Press questions why the government has not called or pursued Ashe's chief of staff, who did not keep up diplomatic immunity despite slick efforts. Specifically, why didn't the US Attorney's office call or pursue Paulette A. Bethel, who as Ashe's chief of staff knew infinitely more about the payments than did Frances Fuller? As Inner City Press exclusively reported, there was questions of Bethel's immunity as a (former) Bermuda diplomat. Did that hold the US Attorney back? Or was it an attempt to protect the UN itself, given that Bethel continued at a night level there? We'll have more on this. Ng's defense lawyers have been arguing among other things that Ng's payment of money and obtaining a General Assembly resolution with his company's name in it (and a photo with Ban Ki-moon at the UN Correspondents Association ball, we might add) is just the way things are done at the UN. On July 21 reference was made, on the documents, to the UN's "Mr. Gitner." Inner City Press has previously asked the UN about Gitner, with the Spokesman saying he'd never heard of him. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: the UN produced approximately 61 documents to Mr. Ng's defence team.  It is clear that there are additional requested materials that have not yet been produced, and Mr. Ng's defence team is in discussions with the UN counsel, Daniel Gitner, Esquire, to facilitate such production".  So I know I've asked you before whether the UN would cooperate.  You said, if ordered by the authorities.  So I have a… I wanted to ask, one, have the authorities ordered the UN to produce?  Number two, since you have produced, can you give some idea of what type of documents?  I've asked you before about… he asked for a slew of documents including…

Spokesman:  I'm not privy to the details or discussions between lawyers.  As I said, we, as in just about any criminal case, we will cooperate with the authorities as required.

Inner City Press:  Is Daniel Gitner an OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] lawyer or an outside counsel?

Spokesman:  I have no clue… I have never heard of Daniel Gitner.  Doesn't mean that person doesn't…

Inner City Press: Okay.  Can you get something back…?

Spokesman:  If I have anything more, I will share it with you. 

   This spokesman Stephane Dujarric never did come back with information. He, along with the UN Correspondents Association, evicted Inner City Press from the UN Press Briefing Room and the UN, where is it still restricted for pursuing this UN corruption case. Earlier on July 21 the bookkeeper of Ng's South South News Ms Jianqing Zhu testified that former President of the General Assembly John Ashe's wife was paid $6,000 a month; the memo on the check as "Antigua - wife." The records shown in court showed South South News payment to UN staff members and UN contractors - the UN is covering this up, with its usually collaborators. At noon on July 21 Inner City Press rushed to the UN on 42nd Street and asked the UN spokesman Farhan Haq if the UN would act on the information in the South South News payment records. Haq cited, as if it were responsive, the brief testimony of Simon Hannaford of UNDP. Video here, from 20:13. The UN is in denial, UNreformed. On July 20 Ms. Zhu testified how she transferred Ng's funds to pay for salary, clothes, luggage and rent for Vivian Wang and Francis Lorenzo, who had a email address. When she testified that South South News got a "good deal" by buying two Mercedes rather that just one, jury members burst out laughing. The day ended with the prosecution walking her through spread sheets of payment for "UN events," on which we'll have more. After the jury was excused for the day, there was discussion of a jury charge that it is not uncommon for witnesses to be spoken with by the parties, that they can be weight but doesn't have to be by the jury. Inner City Press' Periscope videos here and here and here; Inner City Press had to run back to the UN to get its computer before 7 pm under the censorship order imposed by the UN Department of Public Information after Inner City Press sought to cover a meeting, in the UN Press Briefing Room, of the UN Correspondents Association which took Ng's South South News' money for full page ads then provided the venue for Ng's photos with Ban Ki-moon. On July 19 the FBI agent who arrested Ng and his accountant Jeffrey Yin began to testify. He brought into evidence before an increasingly bemused jury long videos of Ng's proposed development in Macau, which had a larger residential component than the "Geneva of Asia" conference center which served as its rationale. It was described as a shopping center on reclaimed land, with "gaming" - which should have disqualified it under UN system rules, but didn't. The UN is corrupt and for sale, this trial is making clear. In Ng's black Samsonite suitcase were the promotional materials, a series of DVDs screened by "Ms. Rao" (phonetic) as translations were handed out to the jury. South South News payroll information came into evidence, with John Ashe's wife (widow) now listed, along with Juan Paulino and others. Also on July 19 the prosecution showed the jury wire transfers of $200,000 labeled "Lorenzo Wires" for government witness Francis Lorenzo, via one Luis Guerra of "Terra Trading in the Dominican Republic, as well as one of Lorenzo's business cards, found in the possession of Ng's accountant Jeffrey Yin, who like Lorenzo has pleaded guilty. On July 20 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about Francis Lorenzo having a email address while serving as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic (and head of South South News). Haq refused to answer, transcript here, telling Inner City Press to ask the office of the President of the General Assembly. So Inner City Press has, cc-ing Haq: "First, please confirm or deny that Lorenzo had a email address as a “Special Adviser to the PGA” as reflected on the business card confiscated by the FBI. Second, please state what the rules are for getting a email address, where the complete list is available so that the public is not defrauded, and how the Office of the PGA distributes email addresses to non UN staff. There may be more questions but these are on deadline." Of course, Haq evading the question by saying to ask it to the Office of the current President of the General Assembly seemed and seems like an evasion; that office's Daniel Thomas has now explained that such email addresses after given out through the ICT focal point of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management - the same DGACM which added Ng's Sun Kian Ip Group to a GA resolution. The UN's repeated attempts to distance itself from the corruption being documented in the Federal courthouse in lower Manhattan are, it is becoming clear, merely evasions. Also entered into evidence were videos and photographs of then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with Lorenzo and others, similar to those arranged at the Cipriani's ball of the UN Correspondents Association, which accepted payment for full page ads from Ng's and Lorenzo's South South News. Here is Inner City Press' Periscope video after leaving the courthouse (which does not allow cameras or phones to come in), here the rushed re-entry into the UN, with UN Security in view. We'll have more on this. On July 17 the defense argued to get into evidence videos including one of a visit to South South News and a number of UN Ambassadors by the Dominican Republic's then-President Leonel Fernandez Reyna. Video here. South South News was a bribery conduit, its funds used for gambling in Las Vegas and Atlantic City while the UN's Department of Public Information let SSN's content into UNTV archives and let Ng fundees have impermissible events in the UN. On July 18, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: yesterday, down in court in the Ng Lap Seng/John Ashe case, a number of things came out... Given what's been revealed in the case about South-South News connection to a bribery scheme, maybe you'll answer it from the podium or if you could, I would just ask you, not just as to the Office of South-South Cooperation, but, as to UNTV, a division of the Department of Public Information, to determine whether an agreement was ever reached and what their statement is about this South-South News material still in UNTV archives.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, first of all, I don't have any comment on the ongoing trial, and I wouldn't have that as that proceeds.  Regarding South-South News, last year, it ceased to have its accreditation as a media outlet at the UN, and there's no arrangements with South-South News, which is not accredited.

Inner City Press: But, my question is, if you go today to UNTV, just plug in the name, you'll find this material that went in.  The question is, given the way in which this bribery scheme penetrated the UN, what steps have been taken?  Was an agreement ever reached? It's a simple yes-or-no question.  Was an agreement ever reached during the time frame — has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of Ng Lap Seng — between South-South News and the Department of Public Information?

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, I don't have any comment on the information that comes out in the trial.  What I can say, clearly, there is no agreement with South-South News, which is not accredited as a media outlet at the UN.

Inner City Press: Right, but that's not the question.  The question is:  was there an agreement?

Deputy Spokesman:  That's where we stand with them now.  And, as for details in the trial, that will come out as part of the trial process.

Inner City Press: Right, but whether he's exonerated or not, the UN has cited immunity, and so that's why I'm asking you just a factual question.

Deputy Spokesman:  That the information we have.  You know, if you're asking me about South-South News' status, that's what it is.  It does not have accreditation, and it does not have a contract with UNTV.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

   Ng as it turns out had a resolution to dissolve South South News in October 2012, then apparently cut his funding to it by one-third. The defense wants to introduce a video taking Macau in August 2015, with Ng translated - badly - by a "Stanley" from Sun Kian Ip Group, but the government opposes it. Just then, Inner City Press had to leave due to UN censorship. Before that, South South News was shown to have been simultaneously "in partnership with the UN" and paying for the Las Vegas gambling of Francis Lorenzo and Vivian Wang. South South News also paid for full page ads with the UN Correspondents Association, which provided the venue for photos of Ng with UN officials including Ban Ki-moon. But in December 2012, Ng's lawyers showed, South South News was nearly out of business until Lorenzo flew to China and presented Ng with a business plan about partnering with the UN. Somehow the UN is arguing it is not implicated in the trial. The day was ending with arguments about the admissibility of videos from the August 2015 Macau event attended by UN and UNCA officials. But Inner City Press has to leave mid-argument, due to the UN still restricting it to entrance only until 7 pm for having sought to cover an UNCA event held in the UN Press Briefing Room, to see if UNCA's acceptance of funds from South South News would be discussed. Despite obfuscations, information has emerged that not only did Ng's South South News place at least 17 videos in UNTV articles, but its links with the UN and DPI were more extensive. Watch this site. Ng makes the argument that Francis Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty, was in fact "open and notorious" even as the UN Department of Public Information put his material in their archives, and the UN Correspondents Association took his and Ng's money for full page ads, providing a venue for Ng's photos with then Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ng's lawyers' most recent letter says, "Lorenzo was open and notorious about his role as an officer of South-South News (including receiving checks directly from South-South News into his bank account), which strongly suggests that he did not believe the payments he received in that capacity were bribes." Of course, Lorenzo also funneled the payments through the bank accounts of his sister and other relatives. On July 13 a UN witness, for which the UN only partially waived its claimed immunity, testified that Ng Lap Seng as a gambling casino magnate should have been excluded from any business with the UN Development Program, or all review of dealing with him "escalated" to then Administrator Helen Clark. The witness, Simon Hannaford of UNDP, was walked through UNDP documents about due diligence and yes, the UN Global Compact. But Ng Lap Seng gave money to UNDP's Office of South South Cooperation, for the Macau event that had UN Secretariat (and UN Correspondents Association) attendance. So who has been held accountable? Inner City Press rushed from the courthouse and to the UN noon briefing, through the tourist entrance since the UN Department of Public Information and the Spokesman Stephane Dujarric had it evicted and still restricted. But when Inner City Press asked Dujarric simple questions, such as about the scope of the waiver the UN gave for Hannaford's testimony and who has been held accountable for taking Ng's money, Dujarric refused to answer a single question. Dujarric claimed that OSSC, which has not held any press conference, is accessible and transparent. False. So on July 14, Inner City Press asked again, specifically about accountability at the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, where a GA resolution was changed to include Ng Lap Seng's company's name, and the Department of Public Information. Video here. This time Dujarric said that "the audit" shows that there was an "issue of judgment," not malfeasance at DPI. Well, here is the audit. And, while at DPI Dujarric was in charge of UNTV when, mysteriously, video of Ng' South South News got incorporated into UNTV archives. We'll have more on this. Watch this site. On July 12 government witness Francis Lorenzo described how he named the "bribery conduit" South South News, and the origins of the MDG / South South Awards which came to include UN officials from Cristina Gallach through Susana Malcorra to Sigrid Kaag, as well as Ban Ki-moon. While Lorenzo repeatedly claimed to not remember e-mails he had sent and received, he bragged of meeting Forest Cao and Ng Lap Seng and traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, all supposedly in order to combat poverty. He said he had fun choosing bands for the award shows, even claiming he did it on behalf of the Dominican Republic. Ng Lap Seng's defense lawyer Tai Park analogized Ng to Ted Turner of the UN Foundation. Troublingly, the government appears poises to present the UN, via a lawyer whom UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric when Inner City Press asked at the UN noon briefing on July 12 declined to even confirm, as a rule-based place that Ng abused. But wasn't it the Department of Public Information's Cristina Gallach who allowed Ng and his proxies to buy events? Didn't the UN defend the other corruption groups named in court on July 12? We'll have more on this. As Inner City Press first reported on July 11 it then emerged that the US Government will be putting on a UN witness, Simon Hannaford. He is the chief legal officer of the UN Development Program, which played a role in the dubious faux UN conference held in Macau, and failed to oversee the UN Office of South South Cooperation. But what about the UN Secretariat, which doctored a General Assembly document to include the name of Ng's company? We'll have more on this - and this: an email was cited in court on July 11 in which Bangladesh's then-Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen conspired with Francis Lorenzo on how to insert a paragraph from the Macau meeting into a Group of 77 and China resolution in the General Assembly. Back in 2015, Inner City Press tweeted a photo of Lorenzo, John Ashe, Monem and still Dominica Prime Minister Skerrit, the lone head of state at the Macau meeting. While reference was made on July 11 to Antigua selling passports for money, the program of Dominica - though which Ng, who later glowered at Inner City Press - netted one of his five passports was not brought up. Should the prosecution expand the case, to this and to target the UNreformed UN more directly? In court on July 11 the name of Forest Cao was repeatedly cited. He recruited for South South News and when he died in 2014 South South News, through John Ashe's then spokesperson, issued a memorial video inside the UN, here. In this video, Forest Cao is shown not only with Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa but also Rajapaksa's UN Ambassador (and former UN legal official) Palitha Kohona, who rented an apartment from UN Correspondents Association president Giampaolo Pioli. For reporting that, Pioli vowed to use the UN Department of Public Information - which also did business with Ng Lap Seng - to get Inner City Press out of the UN. This Pioli accomplished, with ex-DPI now UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric in 2016, when Inner City Press sought to cover an UNCA event in the UN Press Briefing Room to see if and how Ng Lap Seng's and UNCA member South South News' exposure for corruption was discussed. We'll have more on this. On July 11 Inner City Press attended the proceedings as former Dominican Republic Deputy Ambassador and South South News chief Francis Lorenzo testified for the Government, then got cross-examined. For the Government, Lorenzo identified his e-mails with then Bangaldesh Ambassador Monem, to insert pro-Ng paragraphs adopted at a faux UN event in Macau into a Group of 77 and China draft for the UN General Assembly. Under cross examination he repeatedly said he couldn't remember, about other people's including relatives' bank accounts he used to evade taxes. During this phase Ng Lap Seng, the Macau based businessman who used South South News to buy his way into the UN, through the UN Department of Public Information, looked pleased. But when Inner City Press, which the UN evicted and restricts for its coverage of the corruption, took his photo leaving court back to his house arrest, he glowered. More on this soon - and on uncoming UN aspects of the case. The UN seemed to have no one in the courtroom on July 11, but the US Mission to the UN's Legal Advisor was there listening. More on this soon, too. Jury selection ran from June 26 through June 28 (Periscope here), on July 11 former Dominican Republic Deputy Ambassador and South South News chief Francis Lorenzo started to describe the corruption at the United Nations. Now on July 11 the prosecution has opposed Ng's lawyers using videos including that "contain statements that Lorenzo made about the defendant, including statements about the defendant’s character."

At the UN, Inner City Press on July 11 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the South South News videos that made their way into UN Television's own archives. Dujarric, who was responsible for UNTV during the time frame, declined to explain, and also again refused to explain why the UN refused to share with the Department of Justice the list of people interviewed for the partial-admissible UN Task Force Report. We'll have more on this. In court on July 10, U.S. Judge Vernon Broderick allowed prosecutors to ask Lorenzo about his romantic relationship with Julia Vivi Wang, who Lorenzo said held the purse strings for defendant Ng Lap Seng's media organization, South-South News.

The Law360 report quotes Lorenzo that he was single at the time he had a casual relationship with the married Wang in 2011 and 2012, adding that "Ng allegedly paid Lorenzo to draft and get the UN General Assembly in 2012 to adopt a document related to the center, later revising it to list Ng's company in 2013." One key UN fact: the GA document was "revised" by an official in the UN Secretariat, as a fraudulent "technical" revision, and no one has yet been identified or held accountable. Lorenzo was making $72,000 a year from his country, when Ng Lap Seng started paying him $20,000 a month and put him in charge of South South News despite, Lorenzo testified, having never done journalism in his life. (The UN Department of Public Information, with now-spokesman Stephane Duajrric in charge of television, put Ng's and Lorenzo's South South News' content in the UNTV archives; Dujarric repeatedly refused to explain to Inner City Press how this happened.) Lorenzo described how UN General Assembly President John Ashe, since mysteriously killed by his own barbell, became part of the push for Ng's company Sun Kian Ip Group to procure UN Secretariat documents to build a multi-billion dollar convention center in Macau. Ng's lawyers, who are preparing to cross-examine Lorenzo, have said they may use in his defense some UN documents which they have not yet specified. The prosecution has argued "defense counsel stated, 'We also have another document that is from the UN that we are going to introduce which is the secretary delegation members list.” (Tr. 138.) In addition, when sharing proposed opening slides, the Government learned that the defendant had printed out or downloaded two excerpts from UNOSSC websites that have never been produced or identified to the Government, but that the defendant asserted he intends to introduce at trial. The Government does not have a copy of the pertinent webpages, nor does it know whether the website from which they came is currently available or whether, in any event, the excerpts fairly and accurately capture the website." Inner City Press which has covered this inside the UN (and been thrown out by the UN for seeking to cover, in the UN Press Briefing Room, an event by a group funded by Ng's South South News, which will now host Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed) notes that the Office of South South Cooperation has refused to hold a press conference. On July 6, Inner City Press asked UN holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I want to ask you about the Ng Lap Seng case.  It's obviously continuing, but there are now… it has emerged in… in court filings that the defendant, Ng Lap Seng, charged with bribery in the UN, intends to introduce certain UN documents, including past versions of the Office of South-South Cooperation's website in his defense.  And so the prosecution, the Department of Justice has asked him to disclose that.  He says he's not going to disclose it yet.  What I wanted to ask you as it turns out, we never did get a press conference by the Office of South-South Cooperation.  Can you now get a statement from them on changes they've made to the website since the case broke and why they made them?  Because it becomes… it's not a question of… it's a UN question about an unresolved, never…?

Spokesman:  I mean… listen, I think… I think the Office has responded to your questions and you're welcome to ask them again.

Inner City Press: Are you sure?

Spokesman:  Yes.

  But it's not true: OSSC never held the long promises press conference.  Earlier, two filings revealed that the UN refused to provide information to the US Government for its prosecution, contrary to the UN's repeated statements to Inner City Press that the UN was cooperating. Now in opening statements, Ng's lawyer Tai Park said of Ng's $20,000 a month payments to Francis Lorenzo to run "South South News" (while serving as the Dominican Republic's Deputy Permanent Representative), "It's called wages, ladies and gentlemen, not bribes." Wages for what? As Inner City Press has reported, the UN Department of Public Information kept South South News with full not restricted access long after the indictment, and South South News-ers have returned to the UN. (This week there was a murky event in the UN which strongly echoed Ng Lap Seng's capture of DPI including a one-man painting exhibition in the UN lobby for which DPI did no due diligence, only evicted and restricts the Press which reported on it). Of Lorenzo, Prosecutor Douglas Zolkind said Ng began sending Lorenzo an extra $30,000 a month in late 2012 "for the express purpose of obtaining UN approval for the conference center." This involved getting the UN Secretariat to doctor a General Assembly resolution AFTER it was rubber stamped, and more. Watch this site. The prosecution's June 5 letter criticized the UN Task Force Report as self-serving. On June 28 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to defend the UN Report. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again about this Ng Lap Seng case as it moves up.  I've looked more closely in the court file, and this is something I'd ask you to respond to because it's not regarding guilt or innocence.  They're looking at that the US Government says of the UN task force report on weaknesses in funding of the PGA [President of the General Assembly] office that the report was prepared only by an ad hoc committee without any identifiable special skills or expertise, and it was motivated by a concern for the reputation of the entity that ordered it rather than to determine facts regardless of the impact on the entity's representation.  Do you think this UN report, which will be introduced, at least in part in the trial, is it something the UN stands behind as an objective report, or was it, as the Government seems to say, an exercise in…?

Spokesman:  Look, I'm not going to go…  I'm not going to argue what a party to this trial has to say.  The report was conduct… was ordered following the revelations regarding the former PGA.  It was put… it was conducted in order to see how the operations of the Office of the President of the General Assembly could be improved.  As… you know, as well as I do, the Office of the President of the General Assembly is one that is independent from the Secretary-General and over one he has no authority.

Inner City Press: But it's not just a party.  It's the prosecution that you've said that you're cooperating or have cooperated with.  I mean…

Spokesman:  I'm not going to comment on what… but I just stated our position regarding the report.

  The US Attorney's June 25 letter states, in footnote 1, that "the UN declined to identify to the Government all individuals who were interviewed in connection with the preparation of the Report." This Report is the UN Task Force Report, which Ng is trying to use to show that the UN had so few rules that his payments, including through South South News, weren't bribes but contributions. The UN should now answer for its refusal to cooperate in the prosecution of bribery within the UN. On June 27 Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for new Secretary General Antonio Guterres as for his two predecessors, but he refused to explain. Video here. UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Now that the UN bribery case  regarding Ng Lap Seng has begun — and it began yesterday in lower Manhattan — there's a filing dated 25 June.  This is a quote:  "The UN declined to identify to the Government all individuals who were interviewed in connection with the preparation of the report called the UN Task Force Report."   And this is being used by Ng Lap Seng to say he didn't bribe anyone because everyone bribes everyone at the UN, basically, is his defence.  And so, now, portions of the UN Task Force Report are not going to be produced to the jury because the Justice Department says the UN declined to identify, i.e., didn't cooperate.  I know I've asked you before about and you've said that the UN is fully cooperating with the authorities, and this is a statement in the letter by the Government to the court saying that that's not the case.  How do you explain it?  On what basis did the UN not provide this information as requested by the Government?

Spokesman:  We've cooperated extensively to facilitate the proper course of justice in this case.  The proceedings are ongoing, and I'm not going to make any comments while these proceedings are ongoing.

Inner City Press:  Do you see why it seems contradictory?

Spokesman:  You asked what you asked, and I said what I said.

On June 26, prospective jurors were summoned one by one up to speak to the judge, alongside Ng Lap Seng's lawyers and the prosecution. (White noise was turned on so they would not be overheard). Ng Lap Seng himself sat at the defense table, as he had sat at the UN Correspondents Association fundraiser where he bought access to Ban Ki-moon. In the courtroom on June 26, Inner City Press was spoken to by claimed Ng relatives, saying that Ng did nothing that others don't also do in the UN, pay money for access. That's true. During a break, US Marshals accompanied Ng up to the fifth floor bathroom. In the vending machines, 12 ounce sodas sold for a dollar. On the first floor, an ostensibly recycling garbage can had metal, plastic and garbage all going into the same bag, similar to the UN's fraud, now being exposed. Watch this site. Former South South News chief and diplomat Francis Lorenzo has been described in a Superseding Information as an "agent" of the UN, making it more difficult for the UN to dodge, despite it attempts to hinder Press coverage of the connections. Now in the run up to the trial, the judge has ruled on "evidence or argument concerning payments
made to the Antiguan Ambassador by those other than by Defendant Ng and/or the
media company." The media company is South South News - and in a new low, one of its main UN representatives has in June 2017 reappeared HIRED in the UN, at the UN Security Council no less. The UN is entirely corrupt. Meanwhile defendant Ng Lap Seng is trying to keep out of the upcoming trial his financial involvement with relatives of Jesse Jackson Jr (which again calls into question how the UN Department of Public Information didn't do even Google "due diligence," then evicted and restricts Inner City Press which asked DPI). Ng's filing quotes the government that "Mr. Ng made a loan to a UNOSSC employee who sought funding from Mr. Ng in order to pursue graduate studies." What has the UN done about any of this, beyond evicting and restricting the Press which is covering the story? On May 3, Inner City Press asked UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who not only didn't answer but also rebuffed a question about the UN in the DR Congo, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: John Ashe case and DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo[.  There are two new filings in the John Ashe case, and I wanted to ask you about, in particular, one of them is a superseding indictment of Francis Lorenzo, and it describes him in paragraph 3 as an agent of an organization, to wit, the UN did corruptly solicit and demand, etcetera.  But I guess what I’m wondering is, now, if the US Attorney is describing Mr. Francis Lorenzo as an agent of the UN, does this change the way the UN is looking at the case?

Spokesman:  We’re looking at the case.  I’m not aware that Mr. Lorenzo is an agent of the UN.  But, again, we’re looking at the case.  And, when we have something more to say, we’ll let you know.

Inner City Press: And another filing at the same time says that… that Ng Lap Seng provided money to and educational loans to a staff member of the Office of South-South Cooperation.  That’s not something I ever saw…

Spokesman:  Okay.  I… I… we have… obviously, we’re following the case.  I don’t have anything to say while the proceedings are ongoing.  Thank you.  I’m going to get Mr. Takasu.

  Lorenzo has now expanded his guilty plea to admit paying bribes to now deceased President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, and soliciting bribes from Ng. Lorenzo will testify against Ng, whose motion to dismiss the case has been denied. But the UN is still in denial. On April 28 Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Francis Lorenzo, the former head of South-South News and former Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN has expanded his guilty plea to a clear and clean admission of having bribed former PGA [President of the General Assembly], may he rest in peace, John Ashe, and he's going to testify against Ng Lap Seng.  It gives rise… this now seems to be previously just tax charges.  Now he's saying, on the record… taking responsibility, saying he knew it was wrong at the time that he did it.  So, my question is:  As the case… as the case gets more pointedly in terms of what took place inside the United Nations walls… and yesterday I saw the former DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management] individual, now retired, who I believe… it seems from the audit is the one that changed the document.  What is the ramification?  Was anything ever done for that changed document, and what is exactly OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] doing now that there's admission not just of tax charges or evasion, of bribery…?

Spokesman:  First of all, the alleged bribery you're referring to does not involve a staff member of the UN.  There were audits done, and the situation was looked at very carefully in the past two years, if my memory is correct.  We continue, obviously, to follow the developments in the case, and if we need to act upon anything that is revealed by the time the case is done, we shall do so.

Inner City Press:  But, I guess the goal of the bribery was to obtain a UN document saying that Macau Conference Center was needed, and that document was obtained from DGACM.  So, are you saying that somehow the actual… the ultimate act that they wanted was done without any…?

Spokesman:  That's not what I'm saying.

Inner City Press: But, what was done?  I saw the guy walking around.  Was there any repercussion of any individual named in the audit?

Spokesman:  As I said, as more information comes to light, we'll act upon it.

  Right. The corruption into which the UN sank during the tenure of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose head of the Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach did no due diligence as Ng bought illegal events in the UN and even the UN's slavery memorial, and DPI's censorship of and threats against the Press which reports on the Ng and South South News case has yet to be addressed or even stopped. This has been raised to the top of the Secretariat. Ng's associate Jeff Yin has also pleaded guilty to working to violate UN tax laws with South South News. The UN Department of Public Information evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for seeking to cover UN links to South South News; this month DPI has refused to explain the basis. On April 12 when Inner City Press about the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the guilty plea, he said SSN is "no longer" at the UN, as if that resolved it. It doesn't, and that has been raised. Video here; from the UN transcript: Inner City Press: question about this Ng Lap Seng, previously John Ashe, case.  There’s been now a guilty plea by John Ashe’s lone remaining co-defendant, Jeffrey Yin.  And in his guilty plea, he states that South-South News intentionally paid him in cash in order to evade US tax laws.  That’s what he’s pled guilty to. Given the supposed inquiry by the UN, what’s the response?  It’s not a matter of waiting until the end of the case.  This is a…

Spokesman:  My understanding is South-South News is no longer accredited as a news organization to the UN.

  Under Dujarric, South South News content was included in UN TV webcast and archives; Dujarric threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room for seeking to cover South South News payees in the UN, and worked on the UN misleading memo to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Paragraph 9 and 10, here.

  Ng is set for trial, but now an adjournment has been granted to May. The letter motion by Ng Lap Seng's lawyers cites a need to review "many thousands of pages of banking records, emails and other documents related to Jeff Yin, Mr.
Ng, Vivian Wang, SKI, and SSN, among others. We are still awaiting production of voluminous
documents, including information contained in DVDs and CDs seized from Vivian Wang’s
residence, tax information for a number of alleged co-conspirators, South South News
documents, phone records, and additional Ashe emails." So is the UN even checking out these new records, to reform itself? It seems not. On April 7 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here


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