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UN admits wrong statement about Sevan legal fees

[JURIST] The United Nations [official website] has admitted it erred Tuesday when it said the reason it would pay the legal fees [UN press release] of the Iraq oil-for-food program [official website] chief Benon Sevan [official profile] was because of the importance an independent investigatory body placed on his cooperation in the investigation of the program. The UN corrected its error after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker [Wikipedia profile], chair of the independent investigation [official website] into the Oil-for-Food program scandal, disputed the UN statement. Mark Malloch-Brown, chief of staff for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said Wednesday that the legal fees were paid by the UN because if they had not been, Sevan would have returned to his home in Cyprus. The reason for the UN paying Sevan's legal fees became an issue because Volcker's initial report [PDF] had accused Sevan of creating a conflict of interest while he was in charge of the program. The UN Iraq's ambassador to the UN said Iraqi oil revenue, which has been paying for the Volcker investigation, should not pay for Sevan to defend himself against the charges that he he bilked the program. AP has more.

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