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  Sunday, October 25, 2020
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The Russian Ministry refuted media reports Tuesday that a Russian at the center of a UN corruption scandal worked for the ministry
"Alexander Yakovlev does not and did not work at the Russian Foreign Ministry," the ministry's press department said in response to a report by an independent commission looking into possible abuses during the UN's humanitarian Oil for Food program for Iraq. "Alexander Yakovlev has worked in the UN Secretariat since 1985. A permanent contract was concluded with him in 1993, and it was done personally on a competition basis rather than through secondment," the ministry said. The independent commission on the UN Oil for Food program, which is chaired by former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Paul Volcker, published a regular interim report Monday. It contained allegations about kickbacks received by some UN Secretariat officials involved in the UN humanitarian operation in Iraq in 1996-2003. The report focused on the Cyprus-born former executive director of the Iraq program, Benon Sevan, and 52-year-old Yakovlev, a former procurement officer. The UN Secretariat stripped Sevan and Yakovlev of their diplomatic immunity after receiving requests from New York's law enforcement agencies and with due account for the seriousness of accusations. The Russian Consulate General in New York said Yakovlev had been arrested and had already pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. The mission said he was currently at home in the New York suburbs after being released on $400,000 bail.
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