Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lorenzo to plead guilty

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara explaining the bribery scheme
Photo Courtesy, Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that former  Dominican Republic Ambassador to the United Nations Francis Lorenzo is expected to plead guilty in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday March 16th. You will recall Mr. Lorenzo was arrested last year along with former UN President and Antigua's Ambassador John Ashe, and Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng in an elaborate scheme to bribe UN officials in an effort to divert UN business straight into the hands of Mr. Ng in Macau.

L to R: John Ashe, Francis Lorenzo, Roosevelt Skerrit, Ng Lap Seng
Photo courtesy UN South-South Office
Mr. Lorenzo, Mr. Ashe and Mr. Ng were nabbed days after attending a UN South-South Cooperation summit in Macau last August, and the three were photographed with Dominica's prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit signing documents and cutting cake for the construction of a technology center in Dominica to serve the Caribbean and Latin America. The MOU that was signed in Macau by Mr. Skerrit is yet to be revealed to the Dominican public.

Brian Bieber, Mr. Lorenzo's lawyer, said that Mr. Lorenzo plans to plead guilty to six counts: bribery, money laundering, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering and two tax-fraud counts.

In a parallel case (United States v. John W. Ashe, et al (Ng Lap Seng)), attorneys representing Feilang Ng, aka Janet Ng, the daughter of Ng Lap Seng in have filed a motion with the presiding judge to ask that Ms. Ng be given her passport so that she could travel to Hong Kong, Macau and Manila starting today, March 16th and returning April 2nd. In their representation to the court, the lawyers indicated that Ms. Ng needs to travel to these places to visit her in-laws who had fallen ill due to injuries. Ms. Ng had originally surrendered her passport as part of bail conditions following her arrest along with her father in the ongoing UN bribery probe.

The request for the return was granted by Judge Broderick on March 8th.

Motion Request and Order

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