On March 14, 2016, a United Nations ambassador, from the Dominican Republic, has decided to plead guilty to accusations of bribery, in a Manhattan court. Reuters reported the suspended ambassador, Francis Lorenzo, was part of a scheme to bribe a former U.N. General Assembly President, John Ashe. A court statement reported that Lorenzo will plead guilty on Wednesday.
Lorenzo is also being charged with money laundering, as well as bribery. There are six other people also being charged, due to a scheme to pay $1.3 million dollars to John Ashe, an ex-General Assembly President and former United Nations ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda.
Alongside Lorenzo, New York CEO Shiwei Yan pled guilty to bribing Ashe on Jan. 21, 2016. Yan, who is the founder of the Global Sustainability Foundation in New York, disclosed that she had given Ashe over $800,000 worth of payments for the business interests of Chinese executives. Yan took a plea deal and it was agreed she would serve no more than seven years and three months, as opposed to the maximum sentence of 10 years.
CNN reported that Ashe, who was charged with tax fraud, on October 2015, did not plead guilty. Prosecutors said, in court, that the bribes he accepted helped to fund his lavish lifestyle. Ashe was the General Assembly president from September 2013 to September 2014. Throughout his presidency, he made purchases with the $1.3 million dollars in bribery money. The luxury expenditures included the installation of a $30,000 basketball court in his home, $69,000 for a vacation club, $59,000 worth of tailored clothes, $40,000 in BMW car payments and $54,000 worth of Rolexes.
By Juanita Lewis
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Reuters: Suspended U.N. diplomat to plead guilty in U.S. bribery case
CNN: Foundation founder’s guilty plea: I helped fund U.N. official’s extravagant life
CNN: Former U.N. leader charged in alleged bribery scheme
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