As the corruption case against Ng Lap Seng continued, prosecutors argued the Macau businessman was looking for “fame and more fortune” when he bribed United Nations officials in exchange for support for a multibillion-dollar conference centre he wanted to see developed in the MSAR.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney, Janis Echenberg, in her final statement at the court trial held in New York City, Mr. Ng wanted to create the “Geneva of Asia” by bypassing rules of diplomacy in order to “cement his legacy”.
According to the Prosecutors, the Macau real estate developer wanted the city to hold regular events for developing countries, which would contribute to the expansion of his real estate businesses through the possible development of luxury housing, hotels, a shopping mall, marinas and an airport.
Mr. Ng’s lawyer on the other hand said that the businessman was only looking to collaborate with the UN by using public-private partnerships, but was a victim of corrupt officials.
“There is nothing wrong with what he did (…) You had a public-private partnership where the UN said, ‘Please send us money’,” Mr. Ng’s defence lawyer said in court.
Currently Mr. Ng is facing charges of money laundering and bribery, with accusations of having paid more than US$1 million (MOP8 million) of bribes during a five-year scheme to Francis Lorenzo, a former deputy ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the UN, and to former UN General Assembly president, John Ashe.
The trial started on June 29, with Mr. Lorenzo having become the main witness against Mr. Ng after pleading guilty to the charges of bribery and money laundering, while Mr. Ashe – who was also a defendant – died last year in an accident during exercise at his home.
The trial’s closing arguments were expected to finish late yesterday, with the prosecution arguing the testimony from the suspended ambassador from the Dominican Republic, together with email and bank record evidence were enough to convict Mr. Ng, according to news agency Associated Press. with Reuters