Veteran local lawyers on opposing sides in landmark corruption case in the US

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Two of this country’s top attorneys at law will be on opposing sides in the federal trial of Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, which commences in New York next week, the outcome of which could influence future interpretations of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Integrity in Public Life Act of Antigua and Barbuda, and, maybe, the wider world.
Although deceased, former Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador Dr John Ashe, is a central figure in the case since he had been indicted in the massive bribery scheme for which he was allegedly paid by Ng Lap Seng to use his status as a former President of the United Nations General Assembly to influence the institution into approving the construction of a large, multi-billion dollar Conference Center in Macau for which, Ng Lap Seng’s company, Sun Kian LP, would have been the developer.
Although Ashe lost his life in an unfortunate accident in his home a year ago, his alleged liaison with Ng Lap Seng could impact the outcome of the impending trial of the Chinese billionaire in which former attorney general of Antigua & Barbuda, Justin Simon will be appearing on behalf of the prosecution while Dr David Dorsett will be on the defense team.
Both lawyers have submitted affidavits in support of their respective team in the litigation.
In a 46-page affidavit filed in Manhattan Federal Court on May 16 on behalf of the US government, Simon lays out in detail his extensive experience in practicing law as well as his attainment of the prestigious title of Queen’s Counsel.
Dominican born, Simon, who graduated with a law degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in 1973, and from the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad, with a legal certificate training, obtained a masters of laws degree (LL.M) in 1978 from the University of London. He has been admitted to the bar as an attorney at law in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The veteran attorney at law highlighted that he served from 2004 – 2014 as attorney general and minister of Justice and Legal Affairs in Antigua & Barbuda with his responsibility encompassing that of Chief Legal Advisor to the government, including “providing guidance and analysis with respect to criminal statutes”.
According to Simon, part as of his responsibility in this advisory capacity, he “oversaw the drafting of criminal statutes, including the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Integrity in Public Life Act”.
He pointed out in his affidavit that based on his legal training and professional experience he is “familiar with the bribery statutes of Antigua, set forth in the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Integrity in Public Life Act”.
In the affidavit, Simon states: “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 the 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 statutes.”
Acting US Attorney Joon Kim states in a letter submitted with Simon’s affidavit to presiding Judge Vernon Broderick, that Simon’s affidavit “addresses the elements for violations … under the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as a violation of … the Integrity in Public Life Act”.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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