Oct 26

Ex-Goldman director Gupta gets two-year prison sentence (Reuters Oct 24, 2012):

NEW YORK – Disgraced Wall Street titan and philanthropist Rajat Gupta was sentenced to only two years in prison, a much lighter sentence than U.S. prosecutors had demanded, even though the federal judge who imposed it on Wednesday called his insider trading crimes “disgusting” and “a terrible breach of trust.”

Gupta was also ordered to pay a $5 million fine. He was convicted in Manhattan federal court last June for leaking Goldman Sachs boardroom secrets to Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund manager at the center of a U.S. government crackdown on insider trading over the past four years.

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Jun 05

Pledges of almost three billion dollars of emergency aid were made at a food price crisis summit on Wednesday but UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned up to 20 billion dollars a year would be needed to avoid disaster.

“We simply cannot afford to fail,” the UN secretary general said at the food security summit. “Hundreds of millions of people expect no less.”

The extra resources that might be as required will cost between 15 billion and 20 billion dollars (10-13 billion euros) a year, Ban told a news conference.

New funding totalling some 2.7 billion dollars was announced on the second day of the summit in Rome, where Ban has already demanded a 50 percent increase in food production by 2030.

The UN World Food Programme announced 1.2 billion dollars in new food aid to help “the tens of millions of people … hardest hit by the crisis.” Continue reading »

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Apr 29

Bullet casings found near human remains in Bogoro, DR Congo 2007
The FNI militia is accused of carrying out massacres of villagers in DR Congo

The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned.

The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN investigated some of the claims in 2007, but said it could not substantiate claims of arms dealing.

UN insiders told the BBC’s Panorama they had been prevented from pursuing their inquiries for political reasons.

Gold and ivory

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) is the global body’s largest, with 17,000 troops spread across the country.

It’s true they did, give us arms. They said it was for the security of the country
‘Kung-fu’
FNI leader

The BBC’s Martin Plaut, who returned to DR Congo to follow up his initial investigation into the allegations, says they have managed to bring a measure of stability since they were first established by the UN in February 2000.

They have also helped disarm the warring factions, run democratic elections and assisted with reconstruction.

But an 18-month BBC investigation for Panorama has found evidence that:

– Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with the FNI militia, providing them with weapons to guard the perimeter of the mines

– Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, now living in eastern DR Congo

– The Indians traded gold, bought drugs from the militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory

The UN looked into the allegations concerning the Pakistani troops in 2007.

It concluded that one officer had been responsible for dealing in gold – allowing traders to use UN aircraft to fly into the town, putting them up at the UN base and taking them around the town.

But the UN decided that “in the absence of corroborative evidence” its investigators “could not substantiate the allegation” that Pakistani peacekeepers supplied weapons or ammunition to the militia.

It did, however, identify “an individual who seemed to have facilitated gold smuggling”. Continue reading »

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