Monday, December 26, 2016

Summer trial for Lap Seng

The long-awaited start of the US government's case against Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng will commence in the heat of the summer of 2017. The case, originally scheduled to begin in January has been pushed into May, with jury selection to begin at 10:00am on May 15th.

Mr. Ng and his assistant Jeff Yin were arrested by FBI agents in September 2015 just prior to departing New Jersey. They were slapped with several charges including conspiracy, money laundering, and bribery of United Nations officials. Ensnared in the federal case were former Antiguan diplomat John Ashe, who has since passed, and former Assistant Ambassador from the Dominican Republic Francis Lorenzo. Mr. Lorenzo, who was scheduled to be sentenced on December 9th has had his sentencing date pushed back another 6 months.

The past several months have seen a flurry of activity in the courts relating to this case. In a development that surprised defense lawyers, the government filed a 31-page 8-count superseding indictment against Mr. Ng and Mr. Yin on November 22nd. The indictment handed down by the Grand Jury charges both defendants with conspiracy to pay Bribes, payment of Bribes, violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conspiracy to commit Money Laundering, Money Laundering, conspiracy to Defraud the United States, and Obstructing and Impeding and Endeavoring to Obstruct and Impede the Due Administration of the Internal Revenue Service Laws.

New Superseding Indictment
In the new indictment, the government added a new alias for Mr. Ng, which has caused quite a bit of consternation for the Chinese billionaire. His lawyers have protested references to him as "Boss Wu" and have made a submission to the court stating that the "newly added 'Boss Wu' alias unfairly and improperly insinuates that - notwithstanding the nature of the case - Mr. Ng also has a role in organized crime". The submission goes on to state that the "indictment's serial references to Mr. Ng as 'Boss Wu' is unfairly prejudicial". Mr. Ng has motioned to strike this superseding indictment as well as all references to "Boss Wu".

Lap Seng motion to Strike
The presiding judge, Judge Vernon Broderick, also has his hands full with motions to suppress evidence from both defendants. The attorneys for both Mr. Ng and Mr. Yin have filed motions to suppress their post-arrest interviews, alleging that their Miranda Rights were not properly explained to them and that the interview proceeded even after they invoked their right to Counsel. The government has challenged the motions contending that the defendant's rights were not violated and that they knowingly and voluntarily waived their rights and chose to talk to the arresting agents. The government, in its statement to the court, noted that the interviews, including Miranda warnings, were video recorded in their entirety.

But in response to the government's statement to the court, the attorneys for Jeff Yin allege that at the time of his arrest in his hotel lobby, Mr. Yin had been awake for over 24 hours and was exhausted. Reviewing the transcript of the video recording of the interrogation of Jeff Yin, it appears that the attorney's for Mr. Yin in their response to the government's challenge are contending that the interview of Mr. Yin commenced prior to him being apprised of his Miranda Rights. It is left to see where the judge rules; his decision is pending.

Another Antiguan caught?

Over in Brooklyn, a massive bribery case is being unraveled in federal court that may ensnare the Antiguan government. The Brazilian company Odebrecht S.A., the largest construction company in Latin America, has plead guilty to multiple counts of bribery, resulting to fines in excess of US $3.5 billion. The investigation into the company's bribery schemes, which spanned over 20 years, has uncovered what may be an Antiguan link. The New York Times reported last week that as authorities were closing in on Odebrecht, its employees began to destroy documents. Odebrecht apparently operated an offshore company in Antigua that was used to wire bribes all over the world. According to the Times, in 2015, an Odebrecht employee arranged a meeting with an Antiguan consular official. At the meeting, the Odebrecht employee requested that a high-level official in Antigua refrain from sending international authorities banking documents that would show illicit payments made on behalf of Odebrecht. Prosecutors said that the employee offered to pay US$4 million for the favour but in the end, the Odebrecht employee made 3 payments of 1 million Euros each to the Antiguan official, failing to do a forth. We will be following developments in this case.

 US v. Odebrecht
US v. Odebrecht S.A.
Click on the above link to view the indictment against Odebrecht. References to Antigua are highlighted.

Share this:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2014 Mas In The Cemetery. Designed by OddThemes | Distributed By Blogger Templates20