U.N. Leader Orders Audit of Transactions ; Macau Foundation Tied to Indictment Alleging Corruption and Bribery

By Sengupta, Somini | International New York Times, October 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

U.N. Leader Orders Audit of Transactions ; Macau Foundation Tied to Indictment Alleging Corruption and Bribery


Sengupta, Somini, International New York Times


Two organizations, one based in Macau, are linked to the indictment of six suspects involved in an alleged graft scheme.

Two days after a former president of the United Nations General Assembly was indicted in federal court in Manhattan on charges arising from a bribery investigation, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, ordered an audit of the organization's financial transactions with two obscure foundations implicated in the indictment.

Mr. Ban ordered the organization's Office of Internal Oversight Services to look into funds that the United Nations received from the two foundations: the charity arm of the Macau-based Sun Kian Ip Group and the Global Sustainability Foundation, Mr. Ban's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters on Thursday.

The two organizations are not registered as nonprofit entities in the United States. Their staffs include former United Nations personnel and diplomats, including the former General Assembly president, John W. Ashe of Antigua, who was among the six people charged in a graft scheme that involved payments in exchange for assistance in facilitating real estate deals.

According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Ashe, a former diplomat representing his country at the United Nations and the president of the General Assembly from September 2013 to September 2014, received cash payments not only in his own personal bank accounts, but also in the official accounts of the president of the General Assembly.

He used some of the money from the official account, the indictment said, to "pay for his personal expenses," including the mortgage on his house in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., payments on his leased BMW car, and to buy Rolex watches.

The case has drawn sharp scrutiny at a time when United Nations appeals for private donations are more insistent than ever, for both urgent humanitarian crises and long-term economic development for poor countries. The indictment raises fresh questions about the organization's ability to vet where money comes from and how it is used.

"The secretary general reaffirms that there will be no tolerance for any corruption at the United Nations or in the name of the United Nations," Mr. …

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