Billionaire’s bail rules tightened: No closed-door massages

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge tightened security Monday at the luxury Manhattan apartment where a Chinese billionaire convicted of bribing United Nations diplomats will likely reside under 24-hour guard until sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick rejected a request by prosecutors to immediately imprison 69-year-old Ng Lap Seng after his conviction over a week ago on bribery and money laundering charges. The charges carry a potential prison term lasting decades, though his actual sentence would be far less.

“It is literally difficult to imagine a defendant with a greater incentive to flee,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richenthal.

A jury convicted Ng of paying over $1.7 million in bribes to two ambassadors from 2010 to 2015 to arrange support to construct a huge U.N. conference center in Macau, where he resides. No sentencing date has been set.

On the day of the verdict, Broderick imposed new conditions on Ng’s $50 million bail package, confining Ng to his $4 million apartment, which will end his nearly daily excursion to a Chinatown restaurant.

At Monday’s hearing, the judge seemed surprised to learn that Ng was receiving massages every other day in his bedroom with the door closed and that the massage therapist remained at the apartment for four to 10 hours, cooking meals that were sometimes also served to Ng’s armed guards.