U.N Oil-for-Food Official Pleads Guilty

It seems like just yesterday he was proclaiming his innocence.

Former U.N. official pleads guilty, prosecutors say
Oil-for-food probe accuses procurement officer of soliciting bribe

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) — A former U.N. procurement officer pleaded guilty to money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy charges Monday after the United Nations stripped him of his diplomatic immunity, federal prosecutors said.

U.N. officials lifted Alexander Yakovlev’s diplomatic immunity at the request of a U.S. prosecutor in New York, an aide to Secretary-General Kofi Annan said earlier Monday.

Yakovlev, a senior procurement officer for the United Nations, resigned in June amid allegations that he helped get his son a job with a firm doing business with the world body.

Earlier, Paul Volcker, the head of the U.N.’s Independent Inquiry Committee, announced that the probe found that Yakovlev solicited a bribe from a French company that bid unsuccessfully on an oil-for-food contract.

The report found no evidence the company paid the desired bribe — but it found that more than $1.3 million had been wired to a bank account Yakovlev controlled on the Caribbean island of Antigua since 2000.

“More than $950,000 of these payments came from various companies or persons affiliated with such companies that collectively won more than $79 million in United Nations contracts and purchase orders,” the report found.

There was no apparent connection between those payments and the oil-for-food program, however.

Volcker’s panel also said that the former head of the oil-for-food program allegedly received more than $147,000 in kickbacks from oil sold under the program.

The panel’s report concluded that Benon Sevan “corruptly derived substantial financial benefits” from a company that purchased Iraqi oil under the program, which supplied Iraq with food and medicine during years of international sanctions.

I’m betting there’s more coming.

Ask and ye shall receive
Rendering unto Caesar


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