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Inquiry accuses former U.N. oil-food chief

Aug. 8, 2005 at 2:14 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- An independent inquiry into U.N.'s Iraq Oil-for-Food Program says former program head Benon Sevan, received kickbacks.

Additionally, a third interim report released Monday by Independent Inquiry Committee Chairman Paul Volcker recommends U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan grant requests by law enforcement agencies to waive immunity for Sevan, who resigned Sunday, and Alexander Yakovlev, a former procurement officer for the world organization, and assist in their prosecution for illegally making money off the program.

"We are a fact-finding body, not a law enforcement agency," Volcker told reporters in releasing the report.

Sevan, a Cypriot, was accused of acting "in concert" to gain payments with Middle East Petroleum principals Fred Nadler, a Sevan friend; and Fakhry Abdelnour, a relative of Nadler's. Yakovlev, a Russian, was named for acting with Yves Pintore, a French businessman, with soliciting and accepting illegal payments.

Nadler is a brother-in-law of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Abdelnour is a cousin of Boutros-Ghali.

Volcker, former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board promised more details in further reports in the next two months on activities of others including Annan and his son Kojo Annan.

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