California State Senator Leland Yee faces new charges in Chinatown corruption case

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 July, 2014, 3:07pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 July, 2014, 6:24am

A US federal grand jury charged a California state senator with more felonies in addition to the eight counts he already faced in a sweeping crime and corruption case centred in San Francisco's Chinatown.

A new indictment charged Senator Leland Yee with racketeering and conspiracy "to obtain property under the colour of official right", in addition to previous bribery, conspiracy and related charges. Yee pleaded not guilty to the original eight charges.

The new accusations allege that Yee offered to help pass legislation making it harder for football players to obtain workers' compensation in California, in exchange for campaign contributions from an unidentified National Football League owner.

The new indictment also accuses Yee of taking bribes in exchange for votes in favour of several bills, including one on medical marijuana and another to extend the life of the California State Athletic Commission.

Also charged with racketeering was Hong Kong-born Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow. The grand jury called a Chinese-American association that Chow headed, the Ghee Kung Tong, a racketeering enterprise.

Chow previously pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.

A lawyer for Chow, Curtis Briggs, said he was "completely underwhelmed by the superseding indictment".

"It doesn't hold water, evidenced by the fact that they could have brought the racketeering charge in the first indictment," Briggs said.