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UN Official Resigns Amid Allegations of Misconduct

A senior United Nations purchasing official has resigned amid allegations of misconduct. The official's office has been sealed as investigators look into possible links with the Iraq oil for-food scandal.

Alexander Yakovlev, a Russian employee of the U.N. procurement department, submitted his resignation late Tuesday.

Acting U.N. spokesman Marie Okabe says Mr. Yakovlev quit after the Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) opened an investigation into charges the official had helped his son get a job with a company that had done business with the world body.

"The assistant secretary general for central support services accepted his resignation this morning with immediate effect. Mr. Yakovlev was also informed that the OIOS investigation will continue despite his resignation," she said.

Mr. Yakovlev gained attention earlier this year when he was named in a report by the Volcker Committee looking into irregularities in the Iraq oil for food program. The committee portrayed Mr. Yakovlev as someone who played by the rules.

Another senior official, Joseph Stephanides, was later fired after being accused of influencing the awarding of oil-for-food contracts.

Spokeswoman Okabe says the latest misconduct allegations have prompted Mr. Volcker's Independent Inquiry Committee to take another look at Mr. Yakovlev's activities.

"The Independent Inquiry Committee requested last night that Mr. Yakovlev's office be sealed to allow them to access materials that might pertain to their investigation. The United Nations complied with that request," she added.

A spokeswoman for the independent inquiry committee said Wednesday there would be no comment on what she called "an open investigation."

Ms. Okabe said Mr. Yakovlev had agreed to cooperate fully with investigators.