John W. Ashe was the Ambassador to the U.N. for Antigua and Barbuda from 2004 through December 2014. From September 2013 through September 2014, Ashe served as the President of the U.N. General Assembly.
Francis Lorenzo was the Ambassador to the U.N. for the Dominican Republic from 2004 through October 2015. During Ashe's term as President of the U.N. General Assembly, Lorenzo served as a Special Adviser to Ashe.
Ng Lap Seng was the head of the Sun Kian Ip Group, a real estate development company based in Macau, China. In late 2009, Seng helped found the Global Sustainability Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in New York, which was used as a media platform that covered stories on sustainable development, the U.N., and other related topics.
Jeff C. Yin was Seng's principal assistant at the Sun Kian Ip Group.
Shiwei Yan was a founder and the CEO of the Global Sustainability Foundation.
Heidi Hong Park was the Finance Director of the Global Sustainability Foundation.
According to the allegations in the charging documents, from about 2011 through September 2015, Seng and Yin, in coordination with Yan and Park, paid at least hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ashe and Lorenzo in order to obtain formal support from the UN for a multi-billion dollar conference center that Seng, through the Sun Kian Ip Group, was attempting to build in Macau. Seng hoped that the U.N. would establish the Macau conference center as the permanent site of the annual UN Office for South-South Cooperation Expo and as a location for other U.N. meetings and events.
On October 20, 2015, the DOJ filed an indictment in the Southern District of New York against Ashe, Lorenzo, Seng, Yin, and Yan alleging a variety of bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion counts. However, at the time, no FCPA violations were alleged. Park was added as a defendant in a superseding information filed on January 14, 2016.
On January 14, 2016, Park pled guilty to all the counts in the superseding Information. It appears that Park was sentenced on March 5, 2021. The court entered a judgment against Park on April 23, 2021. She was sentened to time served plus two years of supervised release. The court ordered her to pay a mandatory assessment of $500.
On January 20, 2016, the DOJ filed a superseding Information against Yan alleging one count of bribery, and shortly thereafter, Yan pled guilty to that one count. The court issued judgment against Yan on Augist 4, 2016. Yan was sentenced to 20 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release and ordered to pay a criminal fine of $12,500 plus a mandatory assessment of $100.
On March 16, 2016, the DOJ filed a superseding Information against Lorenzo alleging (1) conspiracy to pay bribes, (2) payment of bribes, (3) conspiracy to commit money laundering, (4) money laundering, (5) submitting false income tax returns, and (6) willful failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial records. According to a docket entry made the same day, Lorenzo pleaded guilty to all six claims.
On June 22, 2016, Ashe died in an accident in his home, so on July 7, 2016, the DOJ filed a nolle prosequi, dropping the charges against Ashe.
On November 22, 2016, the DOJ filed a second superseding indictment against Seng and Yin alleging (1) conspiracy to pay bribes, violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, and commit money laundering; (2) pay bribes; (3-4) violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA; (5) conspiracy to commit money laundering; (6) money laundering; (7) conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; and (8) obstruction of administration of IRS laws.
On April 7, 2017, Yin pled guilty to count 7 (conspiracy to defraud the U.S.) of the superseding indictment.
On April 27, 2017, the DOJ filed a new superseding Information against Lorenzo alleging (1) conspiracy to pay and receive bribes and violate the FCPA, (2) payment of bribes, (3) solicitation and receipt of bribes, (4) direct violations of the FCPA, (5) conspiracy to commit money laundering, (6) money laundering, (7) subscribing to false and fraudulent U.S. income tax returns, and (8) willful failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial records. On the same date, Lorenzo withdrew his earlier guilty plea and pleaded guilty to the charges in the new superseding Information.
On July 27, 2017, Seng was convicted on all counts by a jury.
On March 26, 2018, the court sentenced Yin to 7 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a mandatory assessment of $100 and restitution to the IRS of $61,674.
On June 7, 2018, the court sentenced Seng to 4 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and the court ordered Seng to pay a fine of $1 million plus a mandatory $600 assessment, to forfeit $1.5 million, and to pay $302,977.20 in restitution to the United Nations. The court further ordered Seng deported following his imprisonment. On June 8, 2018, Seng filed an appeal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 9, 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming Seng's conviction. It held that while the district court had instructed the jury improperly on the "official act" quid pro quo McDonnell standard with respect to the non-FCPA bribery claims, the court's instructions were more strict than the law required, so the instructions were harmless. The appeals court also held that the McDonnell standard did not apply to the FCPA and non-FCPA bribery statutes at issue in this case and that the jury had been properly instructed on the "corruptly" and "obtaining or retaining business" elements of the FCPA.
On December 9, 2019, the court sentenced Lorenzo to time served in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service to be completed during the supervision. The court also ordered Lorenzo to pay $243,965 in restitution to the IRS. Of that total restitution, Lorenzo was jointly and severally liable for $51,566 with Yin. Lorenzo also consented to forfeit $1 million, but on March 2, 2020, the court reduced the forfeiture amount to $940,968.10, which was the amount expected to be satisfied by substitute assets.