One of the world's wealthiest people — a Chinese real estate mogul at the center of a U.S. Democratic campaign fundraising scandal two decades ago — has been incarcerated in New York City without bail.
Federal authorities have charged Ng Lap Seng with lying about his plans for $4.5 million in cash that he brought into the United States recently aboard private jets.
The charges came as visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to arrive on Thursday in Washington, D.C., where he is expected to call for further cooperation with U.S. law enforcement over the repatriation of people whom Chinese officials have called “economic fugitives,” hiding or parking assets in the U.S.
At a keynote speech in Seattle this week, Xi pointed a finger at the U.S. for allowing Chinese people wanted for corruption to reside in the country. He called for Washington's cooperation "so that corrupt elements will be denied an overseas safe haven."
A Chinese diplomat, in an earlier interview with Al Jazeera, expressed a desire to see such elements “hunted down by the Chinese government.”
Incarcerated since Saturday, Ng failed to convince a magistrate judge Monday that he would return to court if released. His lawyer says Ng’s arrest resulted from a misunderstanding.
In 1998, a Senate committee reported Ng sent more than $1.1 million to a one-time Little Rock, Arkansas, restaurant owner, who forwarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee. Ng visited the White House 10 times from 1994 to 1996.
Al Jazeera and wire services