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Suspended UN ambassador pleads guilty to bribery scheme role

Francis Lorenzo (l.), a suspended ambassador from the Dominican Republic and former U.N. diplomat, leaves court after pleading guilty to bribery charges on Wednesday.Bebeto Matthews/AP

Francis Lorenzo (l.), a suspended ambassador from the Dominican Republic and former U.N. diplomat, leaves court after pleading guilty to bribery charges on Wednesday.

A suspended United Nations ambassador from the Dominican Republic has pleaded guilty to bribing the president of the General Assembly as the probe widens.

Francis Lorenzo, 48, confessed in federal court in Manhattan last Wednesday that he assisted in $ 1.3 million in bribe payouts from Ng Lap Seng, a billionaire real estate developer in Macau, to John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served as General Assembly president from 2013 to 2014.

Lorenzo has also resigned from his position at South-South News, a website covering global development from the United Nations.

The bribery scheme investigation appears to be expanding.

On Friday, the feds charges a Chinese-born executive with making similar $ 500,000 bribes to buy cushy and lucrative diplomatic spots with the government of Antigua for her husband and another man. Prosecutors said Ashe “solicited and facilitated” the bribes from Julia Vivi Wang, 55, a naturalized U.S. citizen from China.

Wang maintains she’s innocent.

The charges are tied to Lorenzo’s cooperation with authorities, according to the criminal complaint.

Ashe has not been charged in the scheme but he was hit with two counts of filing bogus federal tax returns.

With News Wire Services

rblau@nydailynews.com

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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