Tags: Oil-for-Food | Showdown: | Sevan | vs. | Annan

Oil-for-Food Showdown: Sevan vs. Annan

Wednesday, 27 April 2005 12:00 AM

Late Tuesday evening, word spread throughout the halls of U.N. headquarters about a "threatening" letter Sevan allegedly sent the secretary-general earlier in the week.

Sources who claimed to have seen the correspondence say Sevan demanded that Annan step into the Oil-for-Food mess and issue him diplomatic immunity (or U.N. talk for a pardon). If not, the implied threat was that information on new U.N. embezzlements would be released to the press.

Sources tell NewsMax that the U.N.'s reaction to the alleged threat was that any "release" to the press would preclude any possible help the world body might consider to aid the embattled Sevan.

The former head of the controversial Iraqi aid program has been the target of several ongoing investigations including a controversial one by an Annan chartered commission led by former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volcker.

Earlier in the year, Volcker released a preliminary report on Sevan's activities, stopping just short of charging criminal activity.

Compounding his problems, Sevan learned that the U.N., which had pledged to pick up his legal bills, decided to back off, leaving him with a lawyer's debt in excess of $300,000 and climbing.

And if that wasn't enough, word at the U.N. is that the Internal Revenue Service has Sevan under its own investigation on allegations of tax evasion.

An Annan issue of "immunity" would apparently stop all the investigations in their tracks and stem the flow of red ink from Sevan's bank accounts.

That is, if Annan decides to come to the rescue.

"The Secretary-General has publicly said that he would not issue immunity to anyone charged with criminal activity," explained Annan spokesman Fred Eckhard.

On Wednesday, Eckhard added that Annan has not warned Sevan orally or in writing about speaking to the press.

It was left unclear whether an Annan staffer may have transmitted such a warning.

In yet another twist, Eckhard did admit that Annan has already granted Sevan immunity, but added it could be revoked if official criminal charges are filed.

E-mailed by NewsMax, Sevan has refused to comment on the latest turn of events.

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Late Tuesday evening, word spread throughout the halls of U.N. headquarters about a "threatening" letter Sevan allegedly sent the secretary-general earlier in the week. Sources who claimed to have seen the correspondence say Sevan demanded that Annan step into the...
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Wednesday, 27 April 2005 12:00 AM
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