Shiwei Yan, CEO of Global Sustainability Foundation, center, leaves federal court in New York after she plead guilty in connection with a scheme to bribe ex-UN General Assembly President John Ashe on Jan. 20, 2016.
Craig Ruttle—AP
January 21, 2016 12:03 PM EST

An executive confessed to helping funnel $800,000 in bribes to a top U.N. official on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

Shiwei Yan, founder of the Global Sustainability Foundation, facilitated bribes that helped pay for former U.N. General Assembly President John W. Ashe’s lavish lifestyle, funding a private in-home basketball court, tailored suits, Rolexes and swanky cars, according to CNN.

Ashe served in the position from September 2013 to September 2014, and was also the U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda.

An October complaint from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the bribes that were paid to Mr. Ashe came from Chinese businessmen and were arranged through Yan and Piao. The complaint stated Ashe “supported these businessmen’s interests” in return.

Yan told prosecutors that she and others paid Mr. Ashe so he would help promote business ventures from “which we intended to profit,” the Times reports.

Prosecutors said the scheme helped Ashe afford a basketball court in his home, $59,000 in tailored clothing, $54,000 in Rolexes, $40,000 in BMW payments and $69,000 to join a vacation club, CNN reports.

Last week, Heidi Hong Piao, previously of the GSF, was the first to plead guilty to bribery and money laundering in the United States’ investigation into the alleged conspiracy to bribe Ashe, Reuters reports.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Lauren French at

You May Also Like