Benon Sevan, the official at the centre of the United Nations' oil-for-food scandal, has broken his silence to claim that he is being persecuted after an independent inquiry was ordered into allegations of multi-billion dollar corruption relating to the scheme.
Tracked down on Friday by The Sunday Telegraph to a five-star hotel in his native Cyprus, Mr Sevan said that he was being unfairly persecuted and vowed to "talk plenty" once the inquiry had reported back to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. . . .
When asked about Mr Sevan's whereabouts in recent weeks, the UN would say only that he was on holiday, pending his retirement in June at the age of 66. He is due to receive a £55,000 annual pension after serving the UN for 40 years.
Now, however, those plans have changed. According to UN officials contacted by The Sunday Telegraph last week, Mr Sevan will stay in office to co-operate with the inquiry by the former US Treasury Secretary, Paul Volcker.
In the deal struck with Mr Annan, Mr Sevan will continue for the next three months and be paid a token $1 (55p) a year as a consultant, while continuing to enjoy diplomatic immunity.
(Emphasis added.) Nope, no coverup here. Just your usual extension of diplomatic immunity for a retired employee who's in a position to implicate a lot of people if he says the wrong thing in testimony!