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June 22, 2005
All In The Family, Part Two

Another UN scam has come to light, according to a Fox News report I missed yesterday, one in which a father-son pair may have combined to ensure access to plenty of cash through the UN's auspices. This time, the Annans are not directly involved, but a Russian involved in the UN's Procurement Department with access to over a billion dollars in funding that he directed to a firm which hired his son as a requirement for the contract:

The staffer in question is Alexander Yakovlev (search), a dapper Russian who is possibly the longest tenured member of the U.N. procurement department which last year alone spent more than $1.3 billion buying supplies and services for the United Nations. ...

Yakovlevs job includes such sensitive matters as vetting potential U.N. contractors and processing their bids. In the 1990s, Yakovlev was deeply involved in the hiring of inspection firms for Oil-for-Food, including Cotecna Inspection S.A. (search), the Swiss firm for which Kojo Annan worked. After Secretary-General Annan reluctantly concluded that the more than $110 billion Oil-for-Food scandal was worth investigating, Yakovlev popped up as a key witness in two interim reports released earlier this year by the Volcker investigation.

In the Volcker version of events, Yakovlev emerged as a champion of integrity, portrayed as having fought a losing battle for fair bidding procedures on two major contracts under Oil-for-Food. Based in part on Yakovlevs testimony, the Volcker committee censured another U.N. official, Joseph Stephanides, whom Kofi Annan last month fired. ...

But from material obtained outside the narrow focus of the Volcker reports, FOX News has learned that in matters of U.N. business, Yakovlev apparently had his own ideas involving proper procedures where it concerned a major U.N. supplier, IHC Services, Ltd., which at his request employed his son Dmitry Yakovlev, now 23. ...

The sons first job at IHC lasted through August, according to the resume, when he returned to university. The following year, the resume states, he returned to IHC as an intern, again from May through August. He then joined IHC full-time in December 2002 and worked there, according to the resume and confirmed in a brief and reluctant telephone interview with Dmitry, until December, 2003. Throughout this period Dmitry lived with his parents, as he still does, at their spacious brick home in the New York suburb of Yonkersas he confirmed to FOX News.

Dmitrys full-time employment at IHC was arranged at the specific request of Alexander Yakovlev, according to IHCs CEO, Testa, who told FOX News that he had known the senior Yakovlev for many years. I would see him at [U.N.] procurement services every week. Testa agreed to hire the younger Yakovlev full-time in 2002, he related, after Alexander Yakovlev talked to him in the corridors of the U.N. procurement offices and said, according to Testa's recollection, My son is graduating. Hes looking for an international environment. Testa replied: Let me see what I can do.

Yakovlevs request would seem to violate an important provision of the U.N. staff regulations that declares, Staff members shall not use their office or knowledge gained from their official functions for private gain, financial or otherwise, or for the private gain of any third party, including family, friends and those they favour. A senior U.N. procurement official, when asked by FOX News about the propriety of such a request, described it as a total no-no, completely inappropriate.

Dmitry, it appears, has had his hands on contract bids involving his father and the UN in a major example of conflict of interest. The close connection between IHC as a middleman and the UN's Procurement Department means that everything that the UN purchases has to be run through Dmitri's employer, which puts Alexander in the position of at least indirectly benefitting from each and every purchase he approves. It also might put pressure on the subcontractors to cough up a little something extra for Dmitry in order to ensure that their bids get approved.

The Congressional probes into the Oil-For-Food scam wondered why Stephanides got thrown under the bus so abruptly by Kofi Annan. It looks like Stephanides could testify to these unusual Bring Your Son To Work And Set Him Up As Bagman Days at Turtle Bay, and they wanted to discredit him before he could talk by claiming his involvement in OFF. But Stephanides held such a low rank and had so little connection to the scam, the action created a stir that attracted more attention than it diverted.

Obviously, senior UN management have a lot to hide, including their progeny, in a trend of corruption that starts at the top and cascades downwards. The UN needs an independent audit -- but before that, it needs new management in order to keep the guilty from trying to misdirect investigators in this manner. It's far past time for the US to insist on Annan's resignation and that of his senior deputies in order to start rebuilding the integrity of the UN, if such a project has any hope of success at all.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 22, 2005 6:11 AM

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» Another Father - Son Scandal with the UN from View From Tonka
CQ is reporting on another UN Scam involving over a Billion Dollars and what did Volcker's Audit do? Volcker gave the Father a clean slate of integrity. [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2005 8:02 AM

» Furtive Glances from Joust The Facts
A quick look around. Captain Ed notes that the Oil for Food scandal in the UN isn't the only one that might involve nepotism and payoffs. Hugh Hewitt interviews a Gitmo soldier, now returned to the States. [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2005 8:34 AM

» More UN Nepotism...Plus, Plus! from pekin prattles
Mr. Annan and his son....... Now a new Father-Son combo at the UN. The original FOX News story is covered by Captain Ed here. [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2005 9:54 AM

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