Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng arrested in US over US$4.5 million import scheme


A controversial Macau businessman with top-level connections to both Beijing and Washington has been accused by the United States authorities of engaging in a two-year scheme to move more than US$4.5 million into the US under false pretences.
News of the arrest of Ng Lap Seng - a property developer from the former Portuguese enclave who was caught up in a political funding scandal involving former US president Bill Clinton in the 1990s – comes just hours before President Xi Jinping touches down in Seattle to begin a landmark US visit.
It also follows the high-profile repatriation to the mainland three days ago of one of Beijing’s most wanted fugitives, Yang Jinjun.

Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng arrested in US over US$4.5 million import scheme

The tycoon allegedly lied about the purpose of moving the large sum

Image result for Po Sum Wu,Central China Real Estate Limited
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PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015



Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng arrested in US over alleged US$4.5 million import scheme

The tycoon allegedly lied about the purpose of moving the large sum
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015

Yang, 57, who is suspected of bribery and corruption and fled to the U.S. in 2001, was listed as a wanted person by the Chinese government as part of their Skynet operation earlier this year. He was charged on his return to the mainland.
Ng and Jeff Yin, his assistant, were accused in a criminal complaint made public on Monday in federal court in Manhattan of engaging in a conspiracy to obstruct and make false statements to US customs officials.
Both men were arrested on Saturday, according to a spokesman for Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. Prosecutors in Bharara’s public corruption unit are handling the case following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A lawyer for Ng, 68, did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Yin, 29, provided no comment on the charges.
Ng was part of the 100-strong Beijing-appointed committee – chaired by then Vice-Premier Qian Qichen - which oversaw the Macau handover to Chinese rule in December 1999. A year earlier, while chairman of the Sun Kian Ip Group, his name was last year linked to the scandal surrounding Asian funding for US President Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post at the time, Ng, who has met President Clinton, denied any part in the scandal and reports in the US media that he has links to organised crime.

According to the complaint lodged in the Manhattan court, Ng, who heads a major real estate development company in Macau, with Yin’s help brought more than US$4.5 million in U.S. cash into the United States from China from July 2013 to September 2015.
The complaint said that Ng and Yin concealed the true purpose of the money, repeatedly falsely telling U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that it was for buying art, antiques or real estate or to be used for gambling.
The complaint did not specify what the purpose was in reality.
But it cites a June 2014 meeting in the New York City borough of Queens with an unnamed business associate in which Ng brought a suitcase with about US$400,000 in cash that he had falsely claimed was meant for buying paintings and gambling.
In July 2014, the complaint says an FBI agent served a federal subpoena on Ng in connection with an unrelated investigation.
While the subpoena required Ng to personally appear that September, Ng failed to do so or respond to it, the complaint said.
It is unclear why the case is being handled by prosecutors in Bharara’s public corruption unit.

In 1998 White House videotapes showed Ng, also known as Mr Wu, being introduced to president Clinton at a forum in Georgetown, Washington, on November 8, 1995.
During the brief meeting the President was told by a fellow Democrat that Ng had been "very helpful" in organising a reception for the late US Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown in Hong Kong.
The introduction was unearthed by Republican investigators among 60 cassettes turned over by the Clinton administration.
The New York Times reported that, in the two years since the meeting, Mr Ng has been linked to organised crime in Asia.
"I am very upset," Mr Ng told the South China Morning Post at the time, "especially about this allegation that I am linked to organised crime. It is absolutely untrue and has no basis in fact.
"I don’t like to talk a lot because when you find yourself caught up in something like this, it is very difficult to talk your way out.
"This is political. There is a purpose to all this and the target is President Clinton," he said.
The tycoon is alleged to have passed US$7 million into Democratic Party coffers using a complex series of bank accounts, through Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie.
Ng previously figured into a Congressional probe into how foreign money was funnelled into to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential election during the Clinton administration. He was never charged.

Here's the South China Morning Post's article by Niall Fraser published in October 1997. 

I’m caught in crossfire on Clinton, says tycoon

A Macau businessman linked to the President of the United States and the investigation into Asian fundraising for the US Democratic Party last night claimed he was being used as a political weapon by those out to get Bill Clinton.
Speaking for the first time since his name surfaced in the probe, tycoon Ng Lap-seng also angrily denied reports in the US media that he had links with organised crime.
Newly released White House videotapes show Ng, also known as Mr Wu, being introduced to Mr Clinton at a forum in Georgetown, Washington, on November 8, 1995.
During the brief meeting the President was told by a fellow Democrat that Ng had been "very helpful" in organising a reception for the late US Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown in Hong Kong.
The introduction was unearthed by Republican investigators among 60 cassettes turned over by the Clinton administration last week.
The New York Times reported that, in the two years since the meeting, Mr Ng has been linked to organised crime in Asia.
"I am very upset," Mr Ng said last night, "especially about this allegation that I am linked to organised crime. It is absolutely untrue and has no basis in fact.
"I don’t like to talk a lot because when you find yourself caught up in something like this, it is very difficult to talk your way out.
"This is political. There is a purpose to all this and the target is President Clinton," he said.
The tycoon is alleged to have passed $7 million into Democratic Party coffers using a complex series of bank accounts, through Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie.
White House officials have admitted it had been inappropriate for Mr Clinton to meet Mr Ng, whose donations were returned after it became clear they were of foreign origin.
In the video Mr Clinton is introduced to Mr Ng by Ernest Green, a friend of the President and one of the Democratic Party’s leading fund-raisers in the African-American community.
Green tells the President: "Mr Wu, when Ron was in Hong Kong, he had a small reception for him. He was very helpful".
Green then says: "In fact, when you get ready to play golf, he’s got a golf course in Macau."
"I’d like that," the President responded.