By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – Private massages are one indulgence that Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng must forgo as a condition of staying in his luxury Manhattan apartment after being convicted of bribing United Nations officials, a U.S. judge ruled on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan said at a court hearing that the 69-year-old billionaire could no longer close his bedroom door when his masseuse visits him.
U.S. prosecutors have expressed concern that Ng, whom a jury convicted on July 27 after a four-week trial, would try to escape to China before he is sentenced. He has been allowed to live in his apartment under 24-hour guard on bail of $50 million.
Brendan Finn, a manager at private security firm Guidepost Solutions LLC, which is guarding the apartment, testified at the hearing that the masseuse visits regularly for hours at a time.
Finn also said security guards had sometimes eaten food that the masseuse cooked. Broderick said they should instead order in.
Prosecutors had asked Broderick last week to jail Ng.
Broderick said that was not necessary, but he imposed some additional security measures. Besides the open-door policy for massages, he said, all non-family guests will require court approval, and an interpreter must be present during the daytime so conversations can be monitored.
Prosecutors said Ng had paid more than $1 million in bribes to United Nations officials to gain support for a conference center he wanted to develop in Macau. They said Ng dreamed of winning “fame and more fortune” by making Macau into the “Geneva of Asia.”
Ng hoped the center, meant to serve developing countries, would pave the way for luxury housing, hotels, a shopping mall, marinas and a heliport, prosecutors said.
The center was never built.
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)