March 10, 2021

Last defendant sentenced in UN FCPA case

On March 5, 2021, Heidi Hong Piao was sentenced in US District Court for the Southern District of New York to time served plus two years of supervised release.  Piao was accused in a superseding information filed in January 2016 with one count each of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and willful failure to file foreign banking and financial records. She pleaded guilty on January 14, 2016.

Piao was first charged in a complaint filed in October 2015, accusing her, along with John Ashe, Francis Lorenzo, Ng Lap Seng, Jeff Yin, and Shiwei Yan of participating in a scheme to pay over $1 million in bribes to Ashe, the president of the United Nations General Assembly and permanent representative to the UN for Antigua and Barbuda, in exchange for favorable treatment of business interests associated with some of the defendants.  According to the allegations, between 2012 and 2015, Piao arranged for at least $500,000 to be wired from China to a New York bank account belonging to Ashe.

Piao’s co-defendant Ng was tried and convicted of two counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Ng was sentenced to four years in prison.  Yin, Shiwei, and Lorenzo  pleaded guilty to various charges and were sentenced to seven months, twenty months, and time served, respectively.  Ashe died in 2016 before he could be tried, and the charges against him were dismissed.