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Harry Cassin
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Woman pleads guilty in UN bribery case

A Chinese-born woman pleaded guilty to FCPA offenses Wednesday for her role in a plot to bribe the former president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Julia Vivi Wang, 57, now a naturalized U.S. citizen, entered her plea to three criminal counts in federal court in Manhattan.

She admitted conspiracy to violate the FCPA, a substantive FCPA offense, and submitting fraudulent income tax returns.

In April 2013, Wang wired $500,000 to John Ashe.

Before leading the UN General Assembly from late 2013 until September 2014, Ashe served as the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations.

The bribe from Wang was in exchange for a diplomatic position for her or her late husband with Antiqua’s government, such as consol or envoy.

The DOJ charged Ashe in 2015 with taking bribes.

He died in June 2016, five days before a hearing in his bribery case in federal court in New York City.

Wang was associated with a Macau billionaire convicted of FCPA and other offenses in July 2017.

Ng Lap Seng was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan of paying at least $1 million in bribes to Ashe and another UN official, Francis Lorenzo, a former deputy ambassador from the Dominican Republic.

Ng, 69, was seeking their help to develop a UN-supported conference center.

Lorenzo pleaded guilty to bribery and money laundering. He testified for the prosecution in Ng’s trial. Both are waiting to be sentenced.

In addition to Lorenzo, Jeff Yin — an accountant who worked with Ng — and Hedi Hong Piao, another Ng associate, have pleaded guilty in the case and are waiting to be sentenced.

Shiwei Yan — also known as Sheri Yan — pleaded guilty in January 2016 to paying Ashe more than $800,000 in bribes. She was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Prosecutors said Yan and Piao helped arranged bribes from Ng to Ashe and Lorenzo.

In Wang’s plea Wednesday, she admitted failing to report to the IRS a total of about $2 million in income from 2010 to 2013.

Wang was formerly an executive of South-South News, a media group that promoted UN development goals.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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