Chinese developer gets four years in prison for bribing UN official

Ng Lap Seng sought to build multibillion-dollar conference center in Macau

From left: 240 East 47th Street and Ng Lap Seng
From left: 240 East 47th Street and Ng Lap Seng

Billionaire Chinese real estate developer Ng Lap Seng was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for bribing diplomats, including the former president of the United Nations, to build a multibillion-dollar conference center in Macau.

Seng, 69, paid bribes to officials in what was the worst corruption case at the United Nations since the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal more than 20 years ago, according to the New York Times.

The developer hoped the conference center – which would have been built by his company, Sun Kian Ip Group – would help transform Macau into the “Geneva of Asia.”

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Instead, he’ll forfeit $1.5 million – a figure that represents the assets used in his crimes – and pay a $1 million fine, according to the Times.

“Billionaire Ng Lap Seng corrupted the highest levels of the United Nations in pursuit of a multibillion-dollar real estate deal in Macau,” Geoffrey S. Berman, the interim United States attorney for New York’s Southern District, said in a statement. “Ng exploited a center for international diplomacy as an instrument for his greedy intentions.

Seng had been under house arrest at his home at 240 East 47th Street. [NYT] – Rich Bockmann