NEW YORK (Reuters) - An assistant to a Macau billionaire facing U.S. charges that he helped bribe a former United Nations General Assembly president may be released on a $2 million bond, despite prosecutors’ concerns he might flee, a U.S. judge ruled Thursday.
Jeff Yin, an aide to real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, previously suffered the loss of an earlier $1 million bail package, after federal prosecutors in Manhattan said he had an undisclosed Chinese passport he planned to use to flee.
But while prosecutors continued to argue Yin, 30, was a flight risk, U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick said the U.S. citizen could be released under stiffer bail conditions.
Those conditions include a $2 million bond secured by $1 million cash and property, and a requirement that he live under house arrest with electronic monitoring in New York, rather than in California with his mother as initially planned.
Broderick, who in March saw a man accused of trying to defraud Facebook Inc, Paul Ceglia, turn fugitive while living outside the city, said the requirement would allow authorities in the case to “be involved in almost real-time if anything goes awry.”
Yin’s mother, who was in the court, wept as Broderick ruled, getting on her knees in a sign of gratitude.
Yin was arrested Sept. 19 with Ng, his boss, for what prosecutors said were lies to customs officials about why they brought $4.5 million into the United States from China.
They were charged on Oct. 6 with four others including John Ashe, a former U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who was U.N. General Assembly president from 2013 to 2014, with engaging in a corruption scheme.
Prosecutors said Ashe took more than $1.3 million in bribes from Chinese businessmen including Ng, who has a $1.8 billion net worth and developments in the Chinese territory Macau.
Prosecutors said Ng, who heads Sun Kian Ip Group, through intermediaries paid Ashe over $500,000 to seek U.N. support of a U.N.-sponsored conference center in Macau.
The intermediaries included Yin and Francis Lorenzo, a now-suspended deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic who prosecutors said also received bribes from Ng.
Ng, Yin, Ash, and Lorenzo, along with a fifth defendant have pleaded not guilty, while a sixth defendant remains in custody and has yet to be formally indicted.
Ng, Ashe and Lorenzo on Friday were released on bail to live under house arrest.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; editing by Grant McCool