Tuesday, August 09, 2005

ONLY A FEW HOURS after his arrest, Yakovlev has pled guilty for the charges against him related to the Oil For Food program:
NEW YORK --A former United Nations procurement officer pleaded guilty Monday to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from U.N. contractors, federal prosecutors said.

Alexander Yakovlev also admitted to soliciting a bribe under the U.N. oil-for-food program, making him the first U.N. official to face criminal charges in connection with the scandal-tainted program for Iraq.

He pleaded guilty to all three counts in the indictment -- wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering -- and could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Yakovlev, who lives in the New York City suburb of Yonkers, was taken into custody and released later Monday on a $400,000 bond, with no new court date immediately set, said Megan Gaffney, a spokeswoman for David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

"We decided that it's in the best interest of the client to enter such a plea," Yakovlev's lawyer Arkady Bukh told The Associated Press. "In term of sentencing we expect much better deal if we enter a guilty plea.
He entered the deal so quickly that Ed Morrisey wonders whether a part of this deal is to sign like a canary about the fraudulent scheme. If so, lots of people, starting with Annan, might be in big, very big trouble.


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