The FBI arrested a South Korean businessman that reportedly has been trying to reach a deal with federal investgators in return for testimony on the Oil-for-Food scandal. Tongsun Park apparently reached that deal late last week and will begin outlining his involvement in UN corruption and bribery:
The indictment, released on Friday, refers to attempts to buy the influence of two unnamed UN officials. A separate investigation – led by Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman – into the scandal concluded that Mr Park and another accused man tried to pass $1 million to the former UN secretary-general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
The report said there was no evidence that Mr Boutros-Ghali received or agreed to receive the money. The Volcker commission also found that in 1997 Mr Park invested $1 million in a Canadian company linked to the son of Maurice Strong, a close aide to Kofi Annan, the current secretary-general, in an attempt to secure his help for Iraq. The report found no evidence that Mr Strong was involved.
“Park’s arrest is an important step in the federal government’s efforts to bring to justice those who broke US law in undermining the humanitarian purpose of that programme,” said Michael Garcia, the US attorney in Manhattan.
He said Mr Park arranged meetings in 1993 between himself, a UN official and another co-operating witness, including one at the official’s Manhattan apartment. Mr Park and the other witness also allegedly arranged a meeting in 1993, in Geneva, between the official, identified as “UN Official No 1”, and two Iraqi representatives.
The FBI said in a court document that at a New York restaurant in 1996 the government witness met Mr Park, an Iraqi official and another high-ranking figure (referred to as “UN Official No 2”), who left the meeting early.
While the Volcker Report gives the public some good information on the scope and nature of the corruption at Turtle Bay, clearly it has done nothing to resolve it. The parallel investigation by the United States, meanwhile, has resulted in several guilty pleas by some smaller fish and secured their testimony on the actions of the big fish. The methodical and relentless pursuit of the corrupt has already demonstrated what a joke the so-called “containment” of Saddam Hussein became, as his jailers over time readily and greedily became his co-conspirators, while UN executive management either did nothing to stop it or, more likely, took part in its profitability.
Now we have Boutros Boutros-Ghali on the hook. Kofi Annan has to wonder when his turn is coming.