Date
16 January 2017
Ng Lap Seng and his assistant have been charged in a Federal Court in New York for bringing in millions of dollars in cash into the US under false pretenses. Photo: Bloomberg
Ng Lap Seng and his assistant have been charged in a Federal Court in New York for bringing in millions of dollars in cash into the US under false pretenses. Photo: Bloomberg

Macau businessman charged in US over money import scheme

Macau real-estate developer Ng Lap Seng and his assistant have been charged in the United States for bringing in millions of dollars in cash into the country under false pretenses over the past two years.

Since 2013, the men brought in a total of more than US$4.5 million, lying to US customs officials that the money was to be used for purposes such as buying art, antiques or real estate or for gambling at casinos, according to a criminal complaint made public Monday in a New York court.

The complaint doesn’t specify what officials believe the men actually intended to do with the cash, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ng has also wired more than US$19 million to bank accounts of entities and individuals in the US since 2010.

Both Nag and his assistant were arrested on Saturday, a spokesman for the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara was quoted as saying. 

Ng’s lawyer said he believes his client is innocent, based on the information he has.

According to the complaint Monday, Ng and his assistant took short trips to the US from China multiple times a year, often by private jet.

Ng, a wealthy property developer with top-level connections in China and Macau, had previously been ensnared in a campaign-finance scandal in the US in the 1990s during the Clinton era, the Journal noted.

He is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a top advisory body to the Chinese government.

In Macau, Ng had served on the committee that selected the territory’s top official, Chief Executive Fernando Chui.

Chui later tapped Ng for the government’s Economic Development Council.

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