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UN Penalizes Russian Firms Over Corruption Case

March 17, 2007 -- Two Russian companies have been penalized by the United Nations as part of an investigation of bribes connected to two Russian officials.

The UN said in a statement that the Avicos Insurance Company has been banned from doing future business with the UN, while the Volga-Dnieper air shipping company has been suspended from UN business.

Two Italian firms have also been penalized by the UN in the case, which involves corruption charges against Russians Aleksandr Yakovlev, a former UN procurement official, and Vladimir Kuznetsov, a Russian diplomat at the UN who was convicted in a U.S. court earlier this month of laundering bribes from UN contractors.

Authorities say some of the bribes came from firms participating in the UN's oil-for-food program, which was launched in 1996 to help ordinary Iraqis cope with sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.


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