U.S. to bring new charges in ex-U.N. General Assembly president's case

lunes 9 de mayo de 2016 16:39 GYT

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK May 9 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have decided to move forward with bringing new charges against a former United Nations General Assembly president accused of taking $1.3 million in bribes, a prosecutor said on Monday.

The disclosure came at a hearing in Manhattan federal court in which a lawyer for former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe was allowed to withdraw from the case due to the ex-diplomat's failure to pay several months of legal bills.

To date, Ashe - a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda - has only been charged with tax fraud in connection with the bribes, in light of questions about whether diplomatic immunity may preclude any bribery charges.

While prosecutors had said such charges were likely, they held off for several months from pursuing them in order to hear arguments from Ashe's lawyer, Hervè Gouraige, about his claim for immunity from prosecution, court filings show.

But during Monday's proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richenthal said that prosecutors were planning to seek a new indictment in the case before the next hearing on May 27.

"Absent a contrary instruction from the court, we would anticipate presenting a superseding indictment to the grand jury for their consideration prior to our next conference," he said.

U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick at the hearing named a court-appointed lawyer for Ashe, Jeremy Schneider, after reviewing a financial affidavit for Ashe, noting the "substantial" sums owed to Gouraige.

But he warned Ashe that if information comes forward of undisclosed assets or funds, he may revisit the issue.   Continuación...