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CNN has a flash report that a former UN official named in the Oil-For-Food scandal has pled guilty to money-laundering and conspiracy charges in New York. Earlier today, CNN also reported that Alexander Yakovlev had his diplomatic immunity lifted by the UN and had been arrested shortly afterwards:
A former U.N. procurement officer apparently has been arrested in connection with allegations he solicited bribes from companies seeking oil-for-food contracts, an aide to Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday.
U.N. officials lifted Alexander Yakovlev's diplomatic immunity at the request of a U.S. prosecutor in New York, and "we believe Mr. Yakovlev is already in custody," Mark Malloch Brown, Annan's chief of staff, told reporters.
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.
Yakovlev came to light six weeks ago, when documents procured by Fox News showed that he had directed business to a firm that employed his son Dmitry. The Yakovlev family connection followed that of the Annans in providing structural support for contract awards to favored firms. Dmitry, like Kojo Annan, prospered under his father's consistent direction of UN contracts to his employer, IHC, and often worked on those contracts directly -- a major violation of UN regulations.
If Yakovlev has pled guilty this quickly to an American indictment, it might mean that he wants to cut a deal. How often does a defendant plead out within hours of his arrest? He may have enough documentation and personal knowledge of the scams to cause many sleepless nights for Benon Sevan and Kofi Annan -- and perhaps a few indictments for them as well.
I thought Sevan protested a bit too loudly. This may well be the other shoe dropping.
UPDATE: It's Yakovlev:
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. ...
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.
Volcker apparently nailed a hide to the wall, and one that means something. What surprises me is the speed in which Yakovlev pled out. Something big looks like it will break at Turtle Bay. Annan had better hope that Yakovlev hasn't started talking, because is he has, Annan may well find himself the next UN official to lose his diplomatic immunity. Watch for Annan to move to Brazil or another non-extradition country if that happens.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» UN Officer Guilty Of Pay-offs, Bribery from The Strata-Sphere
The UN oil for food scandal just shifted into high gear with the super charger primed with parallel news stories: One where a top UN official has plead guilty to bribery; and the second where the UN’s OOF manager Sevin is accused with the UN off... [Read More]
Tracked on August 8, 2005 11:28 PM
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» UNSCAM update from Eclipse Ramblings
Captain Ed links to a CNN report that a former UN official named in the Oil-For-Food scandal has pled guilty to money-laundering and conspiracy charges in New York. CNN also reported that Alexander Yakovlev had his diplomatic immunity lifted by the U... [Read More]
Tracked on August 9, 2005 6:12 AM
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