The Volcker panel investigating the U.N.’s oil for food program released a report today that accused the program’s administrator, Benon Sevan, of receiving at least $147,000 in kickbacks from illegal oil sales. The panel said that Sevan may have received much more, but the above amount, at a minimum, could be traced through two Egyptians Efraim Nadler and Fakhry Abdelnour, who were associated with African Middle East Petroleum Co. Ltd. Between 1998 and 2001, Nadler pocketed more than $500,000 in kickbacks, of which at least $147,000 apparently went to Sevan.
Sevan told Volcker’s investigators that Nadler was only a “passing acquaintance,” but phone records indicated that the two men talked 868 times during the relevant time period.
Interestingly, both Nadler and Abdelnour are related to former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
The Volcker report also indicates that a U.N. procurement officer named Yakovlev tried unsuccessfully to extract a bribe from an oil-for-food contractor, but did make off with nearly $1.3 million in bribes beginning in 2000.
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