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Top United Nations Officials Accused in Bribery Scheme

Top United Nations Officials Accused in Bribery Scheme

By Marc Santora, Somini Sengupta, Benjamin Weiser for The New York Times

A top United Nations official and a billionaire real estate developer from the Chinese territory of Macau were accused on Tuesday of engaging in a broad corruption scheme, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John W. Ashe, was one of six people identified in a criminal complaint outlining a bribery scheme that involved more than $1 million in payments from sources in China for assistance in real estate deals and other business interests.

The charges represent a widening of the probe into Ng Lap Seng, a developer based in Macau who was arrested by customs officials in New York last month and charged with bringing $4.5 million into the United States under false pretenses.

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for Manhattan, said at a news conference, “If proven, today’s charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well.” Mr. Bharara refused to say who else might be in “the cross-hairs” of the government’s investigation, but said, “We’re looking at a lot of things, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you would see other people charged.”

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