Former UN General Assembly chief dies amid bribery case

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (AP) — 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 as he was facing criminal charges in a bribery case. He was 61.

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.

His attorney in New York, Jeremy Schneider, and a younger brother in Antigua, Paul Ashe, confirmed his death without providing details about the cause.

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"I do not know definitively what the cause of death was," Schneider said. "It's a tragic loss for his family and the community. He was preparing to fight his case at trial."

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.

Ashe 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 Ashe's death would affect the bribery case.

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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