Ex-U.N. Assembly chief indicted in U.S.

In this Sept. 17, 2013, file photo, Ambassador John Ashe, of Antigua and Barbuda, the Ex-president of the General Assembly's 68th session, speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters. (AP)

Former U.N. General Assembly president John Ashe was indicted Tuesday by U.S. authorities on charges of accepting more than a million dollars in bribes from Chinese real estate developers.

Ashe, from Antigua and Barbuda, president of the assembly from September 2013 to September 2014, is accused of accepting money to promote the construction of a U.N. conference center in Macau.

The 61-year-old is charged with accepting more than $1.3 million from 2011 to 2014 from a group of five people, according to the indictment filed by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

Ashe is accused of hiding more than $1.2 million in his income tax return.

Four other people were also charged on Tuesday, including the main suspect in the corruption ring, Ng Lap Seng, a wealthy Chinese real estate developer.

Another is Francis Lorenzo, a U.N. deputy ambassador from the Dominican Republic, who heads South-South News, a U.N.-accredited media outfit that reports on development issues.

The indictment alleges that the corruption ring relied on Ashe and others to nail down the construction of a U.N.-sponsored conference center in Macau at the cost of billions of dollars, as well as real estate projects in Antigua and Barbuda.

Ashe presented the U.N. secretary general with a report stating that a conference center in Macao was needed. It was never built.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49