Former United Nations General Assembly President John Ashe has been charged by the United States for allegedly accepting bribes from a billionaire in China.
Prosecutors in New York claim that Ashe turned the United Nations into a money-making scandal. Ashe reportedly assisted Chinese real estate tycoon Ng Lap Seng in gaining government contracts.
Ashe allegedly received $1.3 million in bribes. He supposedly spent the money on luxurious goods.
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon said that he was shocked and deeply troubled by the reports.
United States Federal Attorney Preet Bharara said, “In return for Rolex watches, a basketball court and bespoke suits, John Ashe sold himself and the global institution he led. United by greed, they converted the UN into a platform for profit.”
According to prosecutors, Ashe utilized his permanent resident status and General Assembly President position of the United Nations to introduce documents in support of a multibillion-dollar conference center. The proposed conference center would have been located in Macau, China, and it would have added to the real estate legacy of Ng.
Ashe stated that the purpose of the conference center was to operate as a satellite operation for the United Nations.
The scandal took place between 2011 and 2014. Ashe’s term as President of the General Assembly lasted from 2013 to 2014.
Additionally, Ashe also allegedly established meetings with government officials in Antigua and Kenya in order to assist real estate developers secure lucrative building contracts.
Ashe was arrested on Tuesday. Five other people involved in the matter, including Ng, are also being detained at this time.
Diplomat Francis Lorenzo from the Dominican Republic was arrested for reportedly helping the scandal take place. He was charged with bribery and conspiracy to launder money. Two other citizens of the United States have been charged as well.
Meanwhile, the investigation is still ongoing, and more arrests could take place in the near future.