Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Oil-for-Food: The first domino falls?

The Oil-for-Food case is getting curiouser and curiouser.
The Associated Press report of Monday night:
NEW YORK - A former United Nations procurement officer pleaded guilty today to soliciting a bribe under the oil-for-food program, making him the first UN official to face criminal charges in the scandal-tainted operation.
Alexander Yakovlev, a Russian, also pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud and money laundering for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from UN contractors in his work outside oil-for-food. He could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the three counts in the indictment.
Yakovlev surrendered to FBI agents in Manhattan earlier Monday, as UN-backed investigators released a report accusing him and Benon Sevan, the former chief of the $64 billion (U.S.) program, of corruption.
The inquiry, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, had recommended that both men's diplomatic immunity be lifted if asked.
Later Monday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan waived Yakovlev's immunity when he got just such a request from David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

The thing is: Yakovlev is at best a third-liner in this whole deal.
The question is: Is Yakovlev preparing to be a songbird?
If so, David Kelley better find him a good place to hide. He may need it.
And you can bet that Mr. Sevan is nowhere that has an extradition treaty with the U.S. of A.