Simon and Dorsette to make key arguments in UN bribery case

The late Dr. John Ashe

Attorneys Justin Simon QC and Dr. David Dorsette QC have presented affidavits as the major trial in the Dr John Ashe UN bribery scandal is about to get under way in the US state of New York.

In court documents posted on blog, the two senior lawyers disagree on what constitutes bribery under the laws of Antigua & Barbuda.

In his 46-page submission, Simon a former attorney general focuses on the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Justin Simon QC

He argues it is not a defense to a violation of the Prevention of Corruption Act or the Integrity in Public Life Act that the public official would have engaged in the same conduct regardless of whether he was offered or given benefit.”

“In other words, there is no requirement under Antiguan law that the individual sought to have the public official do something contrary to what the official would otherwise have done in good faith or for the good of Antigua, absent the benefit or advantage.

No such requirement is expressed in the statues, nor has any such requirement been so defined by a court or other authority in Antigua,” Simon said.

The affidavit was presented ahead of the trial of Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng who is alleged to have paid millions of dollars in bribes to the late UN General Secretary President Dr. John Ashe.

According to the allegations, Ng Lap Seng paid wanted the former Antigua & Barbuda ambassador to use his influence the awarding of a contract for the construction of a large Conference Center in Macau.

Simon appears to support the position of US authorities that Ng’s and Ashe’s alleged actions constitute bribery under local laws.

But Dr. David Dorsette has said in his affidavit that based on his interpretation of the laws bribery of a public official does not include elected heads of international organizations or their constituent bodies or committees, such as the President of the General Assembly or the President of the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, or members of political parties in Antigua.

“Nor does Mr. Simon dispute that for there to be a violation of any of the..laws, it is critical that the benefit at issue have been exchanged for an act or omission in the public official’s capacity as a public official of Antigua, and not in any other capacity,” Dr Dorsette said.

“Mr. Simon disputes two points of Antiguan law without providing any legal reasoning or citation of legal authority”

Dr. David Dorsette

Mr. Dorsett explains why Mr. Simon’s affidavit misinterprets and mischaracterizes Antiguan law, and Mr. Dorsett provides reasoning, case law and treatises in support.

In particular, Mr. Dorsett explains that there is no violation of the Antiguan bribery laws if the public official would have engaged in the same conduct whether or not he received the supposed benefit.

Mr. Dorsett also explains the intent required under Antiguan criminal law: that (a) it was the defendant’s purpose to cause the particular result, or (b) the result was ‘a virtually certain consequence of his act’ and the defendant knew that to be so.”

Massinthecemetery blog says the two men are expected to make a court appearance during the trial.

Ng is confined to a luxury Manhattan apartment under 24-hour guard as part of the US$50 million bail package imposed after his 2015 arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he contributed a portion of more than US$1 million in bribes that reached a former UN General Assembly president.

Lap Seng


Read full affidavits:

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