Monday, April 18, 2016

Panama Papers: After Ng Lap Seng Went South-South In Bristish Virgin Islands, Ban Ki-moon's Gallach Evicted Inner City Press Without Recusal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 -- As the UN bribery scandal gathered force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. The audit, completed early this year but first put online by Inner City Press, directly criticizes Cristina Gallach, the Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, including for her lack of due diligence and for dealings with South South News.

  Gallach, without recusing herself, unilaterally deactivated Inner City Press UN residential correspondents pass on February 19, and had Inner City Press' reporter physically thrown out on First Avenue without coat or passport. Audio here.

  This is called retaliation. Then, after misrepresenting the restrictions she has put on the Press, she ordered the final eviction of all of Inner City Press' investigative files on Saturday, April 16 - video here.

  Now, the South South News scandal connects with the so-called Panama Paper, about which Inner City Press twice asked the UN last week. Ng Lap Seng, who controlled the groups which were not reviewed by Gallach and got face time with Ban Ki-moon. PerMcClatchy:

"Ng is listed as a shareholder of two British Virgin Islands companies – South South News International Group Ltd in May 2010 and GOLUCK Ltd. in 2004.

He leads a real estate development company in Macau, China, and is one of the world’s wealthiest people. He was accused in 1996 of sending more than $1.1 million to a Little Rock restaurant owner who then contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee, according to a 1998 Senate committee investigation.

The restaurant owner, Charlie Trie, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws. Ng was not charged. Another congressional report criticized Ng and others for failing to cooperate during the investigation.

Published reports say Ng visited the White House 10 times from 1994 to 1996, had his photograph taken with Bill and Hillary Clinton, sat beside Bill Clinton at an event at a Washington hotel, and rode in an elevator with Hillary Clinton.

Last year, Ng was charged with bribing a United Nations official and lying about what he was doing with $4.5 million in cash he brought into the U.S. over two years. Investigators say instead of spending it at casinos or on art, antiques or real estate, he used the money for bribes as he sought investments in Antigua and China. Another man listed in the same criminal complaint is president of the New York-based South South News, the same name of the British Virgin Islands company.

Ng’s lawyer, Kevin Tung, has said that his charges are based on a misunderstanding. Tung, Benjamin Brafman and Hugh Mo, two others who are or have represented Ng, did not respond to requests for comment."

 Any due diligence by Gallach, prior to allowing the Vistors Lobby event and slavery memorial foundation, would have revealed these disqualifiers.

 Furthermore, this shows the weakness of OIOS' audit. OIOS refers to South South News as an "NGO." The UN has a relationship with this BVI for-profit corporation, then absolves itself about dealings with Ng Lap Seng, while Ban's and Gallach's response is to throw the Press in the street.

  On April 15, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq how much Gallach allowed the corruption Global Sustainability Foundation to put into the slavery event Ban Ki-moon attended, and about the Government Accountability Projects letter to Ban Ki-moon charging him with retaliation. Video here.