Ex UN oil-for-food chief charged
The former head of the UN oil-for-food
programme for Iraq, Benon Sevan, has been charged with bribery and
conspiracy to commit fraud by the US.
Benon Sevan headed the oil-for-food programme from 1997
Mr Sevan allegedly accepted $160,000 (£81,500) from Baghdad to
illegally influence the $64bn programme.
In a statement issued via his lawyer, Mr Sevan said the charges were
trivial and without basis. If convicted he could face up to 50 years in
The 69-year-old Cypriot is charged along with another man, Ephraim
Mr Nadler, 79, a brother-in-law of former UN Secretary General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, is accused of channelling kickbacks between the
Iraqi government and Mr Sevan.
If found guilty, he could also face a lengthy jail sentence.
Mr Sevan countered the allegations on Tuesday, saying he had
accounted for every penny as he successfully ran the largest
humanitarian programme in UN history, helping to save "tens of thousands
of innocent people from death by disease and starvation".
"The United States attorney's office has decided to use Mr Sevan as a
scapegoat and a distraction from the United States' own massive failures
and mismanagement in Iraq," a statement read.
Mr Sevan, who worked for the UN for four decades, resigned in August
2005, after independent investigators accused him of receiving money in
return for helping a company obtain lucrative oil contracts.
At the time he criticised former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for
"sacrificing" him as he faced an inquiry into the scandal-ridden
US attorney Michael Garcia said that the US had lodged warrants for
the arrest of both men and would seek their extradition to the US for
The oil-for-food programme, set up in 1996, was intended to allow
Iraq to sell its oil in return for humanitarian relief, so it would not
breach sanctions imposed after the first Iraq war.
It was formally ended in 2003 after the US-led invasion of Iraq and
the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
The BBC's UN correspondent, Laura Trevelyan, says the corruption
allegations that engulfed the programme have made it the biggest
financial scandal in the organisation's history.
A spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the body
"reiterates the commitment to have the United Nations uphold the highest
Transcript of BBC
News on Video (In the News of January
Controversy over two hangsings in iraq. Saddam's half-brother and a former
judge were both executed. Who did in joomp suits the footage was shown in
journalist and revealed one of the men was decapitated during the hanging the
iraq government that was an accident. Andrew north was one of the western
journalists to see the video. He reports from baghdad.
>> Saddam's half-brother when had he was sentenced late last year. Iraq
authorities were hoping this things would go right avoiding a fiasco around the
former dictator's hanging. There's been controversy. As he fell he was
decapitated by the rope. Officials called in journalists to try to explain.
>> The rope did not break. Let ma make that very clear. It was intil intact.
If you saw the images the rope was swinging upwards kind of towards the screen,
and just the body was separated from the head.
>> They then showed as graphic of the actual execution. Calling on iraqis not
to cheer in response.
>> It was unusual kind of news conference. Iraqi officials searched. End
though watches and sunglasses were taken away in case they contained some record
device. And then they showed the moment that saddam hussein's half-brother was
>> The iraqi government was hoping this was not what they would be remembered
for. It gruesome in one of them died. Andrew north bbc world news, baghdad.
>> The united states is to bring israel's prime minister and the palestinian
president for talks about an eventual palestinian state. News was broken by the
united states secretary of state condoleezza rice in egypt. The talks will peace
plan backed by the U.S. And known the road map still offers a chance of lasting
peace in the middle east.
>> America's chief diplomat said she'd come to the region without a plan or
proposal. When she met egypt's president and foreign minister on monday that's
exactly what they discussed a new proposal to bring israeli and palestinian
leaders together for a three way summit in the coming weeks
>> I will soon meet with prime minister ohmert and with president abbas to
have discussions about the broad issues on the horizon so that we can work on
the road map to try accelerate the road map and move to the establishment of a
>> Americans have been under pressure from all sides to try to bring the two
sides together. With many insisting that the troubles of this region stem from
israeli palestinian conflict.
>> American's also looking for support for its new plan for iraq. The arab
world may be critical that the washington hanlted iraq it's also fears what
failure will mean for the region.
>> Supportive of that plan because we are hopeful that that plan would lead
to insure stability, the unity and co-he gos of the iraqi government. We are
hopeful that the plan would lead towards the dis dismantlement to whatever
terrorist organizations swell the military militias that are tormenting the
>> Now the deplop see moves to the gulf where it wants further backing. And
it's real change not words of support that will make a difference on the ground.
I'll be back on the programme in particular looking at the russia which is
cracking on immigrants. First let's go to mike in london and mike there's the
beginning of the trial of alleged terror suspects in london today
>> They plotted for months their bomb factory. On the explosives and
hairdressing chemicals. Those are some of allegations against 6 men who have got
on trial in london. The prosecution they were extreme aye muslim to bomb the
british capitol. All six deny the charges.
>> 21st of july, 2005 was a day of chaos, fear and confusion in london. It
was just two weeks after the carnage of seven/seven bombing and yet it seems
that capitol was under attack. Today six men went on trialtrial. They are all
accused of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions in the
alleged failed attacks that day.
>> With the courts surrounded by armed officers, my gel sweeney opened the
case for the prosecution. He told the jury this case is concerned with an
extreme missed muslim plot. He said the men prepared the attack a tour block in
north london the prosecution believes on the 9th floor the men set up a bomb
factory now sealed and padlocked. The main explosive was made of chau patty
flour and hair bleach. It was packed in plastic tubs and placed in ruck sacks.
He showed videos of prosecution tests to see if the explosive would have work.
It detonated every time. The men brought over 400 litres of hydrogen peroxide
starting months before the 7/7 attacks. This is no copycat operation. Night
before the bombings five of the men met in west london. Inside this flat they
allegedly recorded a suicide video only a script has been found. Next morning
four of them set off to enter the underground system. Each carried a rucksack
with a bomb.
>> Prosecution says detonated his device. But there was no explosion and he
left the train at the next station.
>> When ramsey mohammed set off his device he turned a rucksack towards a
mother with a child in a push chair. There was no main explosion. My gel sweeney
that hydrogen peroxide was the wrong consequencetation in four devices. Faltier
of they bombs owed nothing to the intentions of these defendants 6789 it was the
goodfer chun of the travelling public that they were spared. The men fled. In a
series of dramatic raids all six men were caught. All the defendant deny all the
>> Three people have been killed dozens injured in a collision between a
merchant ship and hide foil in the strait of massena. It happened 6 in the
evening local time when many commuters were returning home from jobs on the
mainland. Nepal he's country's parliament for the first time. In the last year
peace deal the rebel agreed to end their 10 year campaign against the
government. The transitional government in somalia has order the closure of the
broadcast in the capitol. Here in bris un it's been announced that inquest into
the death of diana of princess will not be heard by a jury. The judge will sit
alone for the high profile case
>> Still to come on this programme. Cross channel relations to a new level.
How britain and france want to discuss the prospect of merging.
>> Let's get all the business news from new york now.
>> Bankers gearup for another year of mergers and acquisitions, and the
markets are closed for martin luther king day. 2006 was a record year former
jury. This year is shaping to be end bigger. That's the fine of survey of
eventual turer capitol lists and that big takeovers and mergers of the financial
of acg 90% think that the rate are 2006 will continue or eastbounding increase
in 2007. The biggest potential threat to the current boom in and ma and
identified as rising interest rates. Now the sectors were big deals will
expected to be healthcare and life sciences. Both behind this survey expect the
actions to move to europe this year
>> We think that 2007 will be a record year. We think we'll reach 4$4
trillion in transaction. What's most sikh sight european perspective. Where 2006
was the year of the big deal where there were 55 transactions valued at $10
billion or larger, we think that the 2007 will be the year of the european deal.
>> And video anyhow, any where, anytime. And U.S. Has agreed to norway tv for
$1.2 billion. Hamburg is in worldly der in video streaminging systems. Merger
would create a world multimedia group. Now the markets were closed here in U.S.
And martin lieuuther king day. And the corporate earning season opens in
earnest. European marks closed up.
>> Mohammed helped thousands of couples desperate to have children. Now one
of britain top doctors is the focus of a major investigation. He's accused of
carrying out unnecessary treatment. Following up investigation by bbc world
>> Undercover journalist katie morgan arriving at this fertility clinic.
She's 26 with no fertility problems but pretend she's been trying to have a baby
this year. But katie is quickly told that the possibility of ivf.
>> And this is the man behind the clinic. Mohammed taranisi
the richest doctor in britain. He's helped thousands of women of having
children. Critics have accused of him treating women unnecessarily.
>> In a condition like this shouldn't be mention
>> He asked a panel of experts to watch secret film is at the colin youing
and katie is offered a treatment which is not been properly clinically tested it
left the panel shocked.
>> These people are absolutely ready to be exploited, and that's what we're
seeing this morning, and it is very difficult to watch.
>> But and he claims that treatment works and says every patient signs a
>> I believe that it works in our set-up. It has given a lot of patients
babies and I'm sure they would be watching and listening look at the children
running around them and they know what I mean. A year ago one of his two clinics
was refused a license by the fertility watch dog. Despite that it's claimed he
had continued to treat patients there. This is why his accused of breaking the
>> Information has been given to us that treatment has been carried out at
that centre in the period when it has not had a license.
>> And that is a matter which is a very serious one indeed. Providing
treatment in a centre unlicenseded centre that doesn't have a license is
potentially a criminal act.
>> Tonight the fertility watch gauing sent inspection teams accompanied by
police into the two london clinic. The aim to gather information on whether
they've been operating within the law.
>> Are russian police raid a moow mke the ing eopl who're wking he illly.
>>Nder n lawew tha ctld be anyone who not ian. Traders loo tyt be from the
cena ar singled out for docume checightest irregularity and they're mared off
for questioning. Immiatfials welme the new laws.
>> The number of foreigners at e markets has definitely gone down and more
and more people are appling for residence permits.
>> After months of speculation bonnie are have finally got. This is a romance
that hindi film industry by delighted crowds. Hottest couples on sunday
astrologers believe that the wedding shouldhan
>> A mass irrelevant portrait a fresco on a roof of a church has been
completed. The masterpiece was fran sis oh in the 18th century it looks now as
it did then. More than 30 sor go saw. Day in day out for five restore urs have
been bringinging a magnificent work of art to leif. Francisco daue goya painted
in fresco more than 227 years ago it portrays the virgin mary surrounded by
saints. Over time it's deteriorated water damage left it in very poor condition.
A real challenge end for 21st century experts.
>> Quick reminder of our main story. Controversy has broken out of the
execution of two saddam's key allies. The noose accidentally decap stated one of
men as saddam's half-brother. The other man was hanged was with a former head of
the revolution their court. Those sentenced to death for their part in kiings of
140 shias. This is bbc world news and I'm kathy kay in washington. And'm mike
embly in london. More details on bbcnews.Com. <
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