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As UN Controller Job Goes to US Bartsiotas, ICP Scoop, JIU Connection

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 30 -- After the position on UN Controller was left empty for months, on October 28 Inner City Press exclusively reported that internally the UN has selected a new one, joint US - Uruguayan citizen Bettina Bartsiotas.

  Inner City Press noted a US cable published by Wikileaks showing the US pushing to get Bartsiotas a similar financial job at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

 On October 29, Inner City Press asked the UN to confirm:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask the about the Comptroller position here in the UN... Some months ago, the former Comptroller moved to UNDP as Associate Administrator.

Spokesman:  It's not a matter, it's a fact.  It was announced.

Inner City Press:  Who's been running it since then?  And can you confirm that Bettina Bartsiotas is going to be named the new Comptroller this week?

Spokesman:  There has been an acting Comptroller, and senior appointments are official once — if I may be so bold — once I announce them from this podium.  So we can play around with the name game for quite some time.

Inner City Press:  But given this number of months without a Comptroller…

Spokesman:  There's an acting Comptroller, so I think that the finances treasury of the UN remains in safe hands under the supervision of Mr. Takasu as is the Head of the Department of Management.  

   Well, on October 30 the UN did confirm. Inner City Press asked Spokesman Dujarric about the Wikileaked memo, and if the US played any role in the selection at the UN. Dujarric said the selection was complete.

  What about George Barsiotas being on the UN's Joint Inspection Unit? Click here. Any issues? The UN issues statements and moves on.

Trying to follow the money at the UN is not easy, often intentionally so. Press questions for example about Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's travel, posed to the head of the Department of Management Yukio Takasu were answered with reference to unnamed Trust Funds which report on a two year lag. A follow up question to Ban's Office of the Spokesperson did not garner any better response.

  The Assistant Secretary General position of UN Controller, then, under the supervision of former Japanese Ambassador to the UN Takasu is not unimportant. Back in May 2014 then-Controller Maria Eugenia Casar was picked to become Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Program.

  Now Inner City Press is exclusively informed by well-placed sources that a new Controller has been picked but not yet announced. Amid complaints by some delegations that the US already has too many top positions, from the Department of Political Affairs of Jeffrey Feltman to Ebola logistics czar Tony Banbury and Capital Master Plan master-builder Michael Adlerstein, the sources tell Inner City Press the new UN Controller will be joint US - Uruguay citizen Bettina Bartsiotas.

  Bettina Bartsiotas, Inner City Press' research finds, is an active American, for example making $1000 in public campaign contributions and even showing up in a classified US cable obtained and released by Wikileaks, regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency:

This position should be pursued aggressively when it opens up in the future. Dual Uruguay/U.S. national Bettina Bartsiotas, currently a Section Head in this office, has a good relationship with the Mission and may seek this position in the future.”

  So the US was pushing Bartsiotas for a financial position in the IAEA then, and presumably now, for the UN Controller position. While the UN refuses to make public its “short lists” for such recruitments, the sources exclusively tell Inner City Press of the current UN Treasurer, from Mexico, as well as a Belgian official being interviewed. But, they say, “American Bettina Bartsiotas came out on top.”

  As Inner City Press previously reported back in September, another American pick by Ban Ki-moon, Carol Boykin for the investment chief in the UN pension fund, drew significant push-back due to Boykin's past record and litigation in Maryland. And this one? Then, the new Free UN Coalition for Access renewed the press for a Freedom of Information Act at the UN. Will this push things closer? Watch this site.


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