Former UNGA chief John Ashe dies amid graft cases

ASHEAP_jpg_2905239fIn this October 26, 2015 photo, John Ashe, a former president of the United Nations General Assembly facing tax charges in a bribery case, leaves the federal court in New York. Ashe died on Wednesday at his home in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He was 61.

He was accused last year of turning his position in the world body into a “platform for profit” by accepting over $1 million in bribes.

Former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe of the twin-island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda died on Wednesday in the United States even as he was facing criminal charges in a bribery case. He was 61.

Mr. Ashe died at his home in Dobbs Ferry, New York, according to Sgt. Vincent Ingani, of the Dobbs Ferry Police Department. He gave no other details.

Over $1 million in bribes

Mr. Ashe was a former U.N. Ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who served in the largely ceremonial post of president of the 193-nation assembly from September 2013 to September 2014. He was accused last year by U.S. federal authorities of turning the position into a “platform for profit” by accepting more than $1 million in bribes.

The alleged conspiracy involves six others, including a billionaire Chinese real estate mogul, two diplomats and a humanitarian organization officer. It wasn’t clear how Mr. Ashe’s death would affect the bribery case.

Joined Foreign Service in 1989

Mr. Ashe held a doctorate in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Foreign Service in 1989 and was awarded the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his global diplomatic service, according to his United Nations biography.

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