Tags: Annan | under | Fire

Annan under Fire

Tuesday, 06 September 2005 12:00 AM

The younger Annan is believed to have traded on his father's name and connections to gain employment with the firm and then steer lucrative Iraqi aid contracts its way.

The situation gets more complicated when it became known that Cotecna, which was supposed to verify the imports of humanitarian goods into Iraq, was in fact verifying substandard or outdated goods as first quality.

The difference in money between what was actually paid for and what was charged to the U.N. has been the subject of several intensive investigations by U.N, U.S. and N.Y. governmental bodies.

Kojo Annan, while insisting he has done nothing wrong and steered clear of U.N.-Iraq-Cotecna business, has nonetheless been "less than fully cooperative" according to Volcker investigators.

It is believed that Volcker has concluded that Kojo Annan did in fact trade on his father's name and connections and "U.N. officially" played a far greater role in Cotecna's Iraq business than he has publicly admitted.

While Volcker will not formally recommend legal action against Kojo Annan, it is believed U.K. authorities may use the report to see if legal action is warranted.

Kojo lives in London and does not enjoy U.N. diplomatic immunities.

The case against the Annan son is so serious that his father cut short a late summer vacation and returned to N.Y. for a brief private meeting with Volcker last week.

Kofi then returned to Europe and will not arrive back in N.Y. until after the Volcker news conference Wednesday.

Volcker officials say that the Secretary-General has not been directly implicated in any illicit affairs to date.

Meanwhile, another central figure in the oil-for-food scandal has gone "missing in action."

Benon V. Sevan, the former director of the program, has now remained on an "extended" vacation at his home in Nicosia, Cyprus. The embattled U.N. veteran, who Volcker has accused of bribe taking, will not return to N.Y. despite assurances by his attorney to the contrary. Annan had officially fired the U.N. official and removed all his diplomatic immunities.

Sevan is also the subject of investigations by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Congress and Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau.

While supposedly at his Nicosia home, Sevan has not been seen by neighbors for several weeks.

Another federal probe into U.N. financial affairs resulted in the chairman of the General Assembly's budget committee being arrested by the FBI on charges of money laundering last week.

While the sum, approximately $60,000, is small, it is believed to be the top of a much larger iceberg.

"Is he (Kofi Annan) going to retire?" asked one U.N. staffer. "How much longer can this continue?" he added.

That is a question only the Secretary-General can answer.

And he is not talking.

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The younger Annan is believed to have traded on his father's name and connections to gain employment with the firm and then steer lucrative Iraqi aid contracts its way. The situation gets more complicated when it became known that Cotecna, which was supposed to verify...
Annan,under,Fire
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2005-00-06
Tuesday, 06 September 2005 12:00 AM
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