Thursday, June 23, 2016

Former UN President John Ashe has died

Former UN Assembly President John Ashe

Former UN Assembly President and Antiguan Ambassador John William Ashe has reportedly passed. The Antigua Observer is reporting that Mr. Ashe succumbed to a massive heart attack today, June 22nd, in New York.

Ambassador Ashe was a central figure in the ongoing Federal investigation of bribery at the United Nations. The investigation involves payments made to him and several other individuals by Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, who is under house arrest in New York.

Ambassador Ashe was scheduled to be in Manhattan Federal Court this coming Monday, June 27th. In addition to Ashe, Ng Lap Seng and Jeffery Yin were also scheduled to appear at Monday's hearing. We informed you last month that Mr. Ashe's primary lawyers, Sills, Cummis & Gross, had filed a request with presiding Judge Vernon Broderick to be removed from the case. The request stated that the law firm was having problems getting paid by Mr. Ashe and that it could no longer continue to represent him. The request was approved by the judge and the court appointed new lawyers to represent him.

The hearing scheduled on Monday would have been the first time Mr. Ashe would have been in full conference before the court with his new lawyers. Exactly how this affects the case moving forward it is yet to be seen but we are certain it will not hinder the work of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. Unconfirmed reports indicated to us last week that Mr. Ashe was considering a plea deal with prosecutors. We were told that Mr. Ashe was a broken man, and with the Federal government about to add more charges, he was apparently about to sing to prosecutors. His death coming just 5 days before his next court appearance is certainly mysterious.

The UN bribery scandal continues to intrigue us. There have been many twists and turns and questions abound. We wonder; was Mr. Ashe ill? This is a curious development. We will continue to follow this case as it develops.

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