U.N. oil-food chief resigns

Aug. 7, 2005 at 10:15 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Benon Sevan who headed up the $64 billion Iraq Oil-for-Food Program for the United Nations, has resigned, expecting to be accused of taking kickbacks.

Sevan -- who retired last year as an undersecretary-general of the world organization but has been kept on as a special "adviser" for $1 a year to make him available to investigators -- Sunday sent his resignation effective immediately to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

There was no comment from Annan or his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

Chairman Paul Volcker of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the program was to release another interim report on his investigation Monday.

Eric Lewis, attorney for Sevan, released a copy of his client's resignation in which Sevan said he was expecting to be accused because the $160,000 in gifts he had received from an aunt several years ago, and which he had reported to the United Nations at the time, has become suspect. Sevan said he was made a scapegoat.

While he retains immunity for official actions taken during his four decades at the United Nations there are other investigations into his conduct, including one by the Manhattan District Attorney.

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