Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sevan was charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud

Crossposted from The HILL Chronicles

Former United Nations oil-for-food chief, Benon Sevan, 69, of Nicosia, Cyprus, was charged today with taking a $160,000 bribe to influence who could buy Iraqi oil under the scandal-tainted humanitarian program. This brings the number to 14 people charged in the case and hits at the core of the corruption that pervaded the oil-for-food program.

Sevan was charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud. Sevan, who worked at the U.N. for 40 years, repeatedly denies any wrongdoing.

Federal and state prosecutors have also announced the indictment of Ephraim Nadler, 79, of New York City, on the same charges. Nadler, a brother-in-law of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was accused of helping someone obtain the right to buy Iraqi oil under the program in exchange for commissions from the oil sales. He then funneled approximately $160,000 of these oil commissions to Sevan.

Unfortunately for us both men are overseas. The United States has lodged warrants for their arrest with Interpol. Of course, not surprising is the fact that Sevan’s lawyer did not return any calls for comment on the situation. It still is unknown if Nadler has retained a lawyer.

Back in 2005, a U.N. appointed investigation accused Sevan of a conflict of interest in his handling of the oil-for-food contracts. Sevan resigned not long after from the U.N. and returned to his native home Cyprus.

It is also noted that Sevan may not be able to be extradited to the U.S. because the U.S. does not have a withstanding agreement with Cyprus regarding extradition. Convenient for Sevan but it is hoped that the U.S. and Cyprus will be able to work this out.

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Blogger gary said...

I'm not sure I'm willing to "screw" the UN, but I am in favor of drastic reforms, possibly to the extent of starting over. Here's my proposal...


Given your obvious distain for the UN, I would be very curious to hear your reaction to my reform ideas.


4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I checked out your reform - interesting - not a bad idea, but I do not believe it is workable. The U.N. needs to be dismantled and put out of the United States.

Starting a new organization, good, but with the current state of government officials I just do not see how it could come together when most countries of late are only interested in what they can get for themselves - or how they can swindle and funnel money to line their own greedy pockets.

It is truly a mess and I applaud you for ad least coming up with a plan. That is more than I can say for many current politicians and government officials here and abroad.

Thank you for the link and your comment here at Screw the U.N.

10:29 PM  
Blogger gary said...

Layla, I share your concerns, but what is your conclusion? That a global forum for discussing global issues is not possible?

btw, you said: "The U.N. needs to be dismantled and put out of the United States."

Here's how the concept addresses this issue...

Q. Where will the UDN be located?

A. It's important that the UDN not grow as large (and ineffective) as the United Nations. It is also important that the UDN not appear to be "owned" by any one country. Consequently a rotating headquarters would be established. The first five years might find the UDN based in India, the next five in France, and so forth.


11:59 AM  
Blogger Stan said...

A UDN may be better, but how do you keep out China? Or Venezuela for that matter? Democracy is relative, subjective, hardly a well-defined objective measure.

Then we will face much of the same problems the UN faces. Just because democracies are better than dictatorships does not mean they won't have competing interests.

1:31 PM  
Blogger gary said...

Stan, yes democracy is relative. That does not mean a judgement cannot be made. Points for not censoring the internet, no points if you do. Points if reporters from other nations are allowed to report on your country, no points if you "disappear" them. Points if your leader does not go by the title "General" or "King". Points if the president's term of office is in single digits.

So you see, value statements can be formed. Honestly, what choice do we have? If we ignore brutal repressive governments or worse yet, legitimize their thugish ways, we are turning our backs on what we believe in most - human rights, peace, freedom. After all, where has the current strategy gotten us so far? The world is in tatters...the Middle East in shambles, more and more nuclear powered thugs, gross inhumanity is Somalia, Iran, and elsewhere, Osama bin Laden still not in custody.

Believe me people, I very much understand the "screw the UN" sentiment, but this situation is just too important not to do everything we can to change it. Just calling the UN names will only get you so far. Actually proposing an alternative may get your further.

Competing interests? Of course nations have them. What's your point? The problem with the UN is not competing interests, it's the complete lack of transparency, it's the undue influence by powers that completely lack in representative legitimacy. The five permanent member Security Council thing is outrageously undemocratic. France is one of the five members, but it's population is 20th in the world. India, also a democracy, has no such veto power, yet they are the 2nd most populous country. I defy anyone to justify this in the 21st century terms.

Please take a few moments to check out the idea. I'm not saying that I've got the ultimate formula. I'm saying I could use the help of those who most understand why the UN has failed us.


7:41 PM  
Blogger Stan said...

I'm just saying the idea sounds good, but our best friends today, could bite us in the ass tomorrow.

Why should India have more say than Britain? Population? What about Economy?

Call me what you want, but I'd much rather have an American Empire.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Stan on this one. Though your ideas are great on paper - just as the U.N. once was - invariably it would culminate into a clone of the UN at the end of the day because it is about money and self-service, not about caring for people globally. I have given up on that notion eons ago.

An American Empire, now thats a thought Stan!

7:02 PM  
Blogger gary said...


"our best friends today, could bite us in the ass tomorrow."

This is really vague. Can you give an ass bite example?

"Why should India have more say than Britain? Population? What about Economy?"

Where did I say that India would have more say than Britian? Stan, I'm not sure you're looking at my website.

And even more of a mystery to me is your "American Empire" idea. What does this mean? Is this like the Roman Empire? Do we aggressively conquer our neighbors like Canada and Mexico?


8:57 PM  
Blogger gary said...


"I have given up on that notion eons ago."

So you see no need for a forum where global issues can be discussed? Are you proposing a policy of isolation?


9:01 PM  
Blogger Stan said...

First of all you won't gain any significant number of member nations because of its dedication to transparency. The idea won't gain enough members nor encourage enough membership because of the majority of the Non Aligned nations, largely corrupt, undemocratic, or oppressive by nature. They will oppose the UDN as more of the "West imposing its values."
Layla is more right than she knows.

Second, the idea isn't far enough from the UN. It's the same thing with new rules.

Ass biting is inevitable because of competing interests. Look at France and what they are doing to the U.S. Look at China before and after their revolution in the 50s. And to a lesser extent the Soviet Union. Members of the UDN may be democratic one day and not the next, and what if they're not voted out because of POLITICS.

It's a great hope, as was the UN, but there will always be evil, even in the form of majority rule.

Empire-lite... read Niall Ferguson.
Does America act like the Roman Empire or even the British Empire?

We conquer for self-rule, and instill American principles like constitutional democracy -individual rights, moderate secularism, free markets, etc.

We are an Empire, but don't act like it.

5:04 PM  
Blogger gary said...


I suspect countries not part of the exclusive Security Council may be more interested in a change than you think. As for a lack of nations that would support a transparent process, democratic nations are a reflection of their people. So you will need to support a transparent system before your nation does. Are you ready to start?

Honesty in States, as well as Individuals, will ever be found the soundest policy. – George Washington

You said: “It's a great hope, as was the UN, but there will always be evil, even in the form of majority rule.” You are wise indeed. Another quote I’ve always liked is this one:

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. – E B White

You speak of Empire. When it comes to political rule, empires are generally associated with autocratic rule. I trust only democracy and believe you’re on the wrong track if you think empire will give us the best prospect for lasting peace. Besides -- been there, done that.


6:54 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

Sevan, what a dirtball, I wonder what kind of slap on the wrist he'll get.

Please keep up the great work!

countries do bad things -
but of course America
is always at fault

thugs massacre their own people
U.N. might someday shame them

PS - Gary, you should start a blog about your quest. I suggest Blogger, mostly because it's the one most likely to be around 'forever', and also because it is super easy to use. Your thoughts and ideas will be essentially 'archived' forever, long after you are gone. And maybe you'll have created a self-replicating team which can continue the quest with the written word for the many years this may take to ever come to fruition. Obviously, link from UDN to your blog and back. Btw, you are linked. Go for it!

1:23 PM  
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12:49 AM  

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