No immunity: Dominican diplomat in UN to face bribery charges
Dominican diplomat in the UN to face bribery charges, AP
New York.- A US judge on Thursday ruled that a US citizen serving as a foreign diplomat for the Dominican Republic doesn’t have immunity from criminal prosecution arising from a corruption scandal in the UN, AP reports.
District Judge Vernon Broderick said Francis Lorenzo can be prosecuted in the case of alleged bribes in which a former UN General Assembly president and a Chinese billionaire were also arrested.
Lorenzo, who pleaded guilty and is free on bail, has claimed diplomatic immunity as an ambassador for the Dominican Republic.
The judge said Lorenzo has misinterpreted the law and could be prosecuted on any offense as a US citizen, since the State Dept. hasn’t granted diplomatic immunity.
Broderick said diplomatic immunity wasn’t designed to provide diplomats with dual nationality a “get out of jail card.”
Broderick said however that Lorenzo could claim immunity from prosecution stemming from official acts related to his diplomatic post, and cannot be deported from the US, as a non-US citizen would be if accused of crimes.
Lorenzo, who lives in the Bronx, New York, was suspended from his post as Dominican Republic’s deputy ambassador to the UN.
He was arrested last year charged with conspiracy in connection with what prosecutors say were more than US$1.0 million in bribes from Chinese billionaire to John Ashe, a former Antigua and Barbuda diplomat, in a mostly ceremonial post as UN General Assembly president from September 2013 to September 2014.
Feb 8, 2016
Category: DR News |