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Dominican UN diplomat took bribes

A suspended Dominican UN diplomat has testified in a US court that a Chinese billionaire paid him up to US$50,000 monthly in return for help securing a contract to build a UN conference center. Francis Lorenzo, the former UN deputy foreign minister from the Dominican Republic, also confirmed that billionaire Ng Lap Jeng funneled a further US$300,000 to the former UN General Assembly president John Ashe.

Between 2010 and 2015, Ng paid the two UN officials approximately US$2 million in bribes, who in return secured approval for the multibillion-dollar construction of a conference center in Ng’s native Macau that would work with developing countries.

Lorenzo testified, however, that Ng planned to build the center to boost the value of a related complex of apartments, offices, a casino and hotel, which he also intended to develop.

Lorenzo reportedly explained how, within months of first meeting Ng in 2009, the billionaire agreed to supplement Lorenzo’s US$72,000 UN salary with a monthly payment of US$20,000 to serve as president of Ng’s new media outlet South-South News.

Later, Ng reportedly began paying him an additional US$30,000 per month to push through UN approval for the center’s construction. After it was approved, the billionaire then bought a US$3.2 million apartment in Manhattan for Lorenzo to live in.

Lorenzo also admitted to laundering the proceeds through bank accounts in the names of his siblings in the Dominican Republic to avoid paying US taxes.

When asked why he never referred to this money as bribes in meetings with prosecutors, he supposedly replied: “I wasn’t familiar with the term.”

Lorenzo, who pleaded guilty, faces up to 78 years in prison.

Source: occrp.org

July 25, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated November 19, 2017 at 12:49 AM
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