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Ex-UN General Assembly head among 6 held in bribery scheme

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Dr. John W. Ashe, seen here at the 2015 South-South Awards at The Waldorf on Sept. 26, 2015, is accused of taking half a million dollars in bribes while he was president of the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

Dr. John W. Ashe, seen here at the 2015 South-South Awards at The Waldorf on Sept. 26, 2015, is accused of taking half a million dollars in bribes while he was president of the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — U.S. prosecutors say former United Nations General Assembly President John Ashe took more than $500,000 in bribes from a Chinese real estate mogul and other businesspeople.

In exchange for the money, federal prosecutors say, Ashe used his position as Permanent Resident to the United Nations for Antigua and General Assembly head to help the businesspeople gain investments and government contracts from 2011 through 2014.

Prosecutors say some of the bribe money was used to pay for Ashe’s family vacation and to construct a basketball court at his home in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

In all, six people, including another diplomat, were ensnared in the probe.

Ashe was arrested Tuesday and is being held.

No one answered a phone call to the mission for Antigua.

Ashe’s legal representation isn’t clear.