I expect that humanity support of the United Nations will become better.
Seized in Oil-For-Food Case (Update2) South Korean Tongsun Park
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- South Korean businessman
Tongsun Parkwas arrested today in Houstonon charges that he worked as an unregistered agent for in the United Nations oil-for-food program and received millions of dollars for his efforts. Iraq
Park, then in
South Korea, was charged in a criminal complaint in April and had not appeared in federal court to defend himself. Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed new charges against him today after his arrest. New York
``Saddam Hussein's government paid off
to corrupt the oil-for-food program from its inception,'' U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said in a statement. ``Park's arrest is an important step in the federal government's efforts to bring to justice those who broke the Tongsun Park law in undermining the humanitarian purpose of that program.'' U.S.
U.S.investigation into the oil-for-food program has resulted in criminal charges against 11 people, including oilman Oscar Wyatt and Russian diplomat Vladimir Kuznetsov. Former UN procurement officer Alexander Yakovlev pleaded guilty to fraud in August. Texas
The UN imposed sanctions on
Iraqafter its 1990 invasion of . In 1996, it modified the sanctions and allowed Kuwait to sell oil, provided payments went into a UN-monitored account and were used to buy humanitarian goods for Iraqis. Under the program, Hussein chose the companies that could buy Iraqi oil at a discounted price set by the UN. Iraq
's Middleman Iraq
The complaint says Park and another person, who isn't identified and is now aiding the prosecution, agreed to work on
's behalf starting in October 1992. Park served as Iraq Iraq's intermediary to an unnamed high-ranking UN official, arranging meetings with himself, the UN official, and representatives of , the complaint says. Iraq
Park helped negotiate the terms of the oil-for-food program without registering as an agent of the Iraqi government, the complaint says. The UN Security Council authorized the program in April 1995.
``Park received at least $2 million from the government of
as compensation for his efforts,'' Garcia said. It was understood that ``some of the Iraq money Parkreceived from the government of would be used by Park to `take care''' of the UN official. Iraq
Park will appear in
federal court on Jan. 9. He faces charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government without notifying the Houston U.S.
``Park actively lobbied UN officials to establish the program, while extracting millions of dollars from profiteering Iraqi officials for his efforts,'' said Mark Mershon, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's
office. New York
Park's lawyer, Jamie Gardner, didn't immediately return a telephone call.
Park was indicted in the 1970s for bribing
congressmen in what became known as the ``Koreagate'' scandal. The indictment was later dropped. U.S.
Wyatt, the founder of Coastal Corp., is accused in the oil- for-food case of paying millions of dollars in bribes to Iraqi officials. He was arrested on Oct. 21. Coastal was acquired by Houston-based
El Paso, owner of the largest network of natural-gas pipelines, in 2001. U.S.
To contact the reporter on this story:
David Glovin in
at email@example.com. New York
Last Updated: January 6, 2006 18:31 EST