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In Corrupt UN Of Guterres UNESCO Azoulay Spins Venice Vacation Into an Official Mission

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, April 28 – Inner City Press has been reporting on serious malfeasance by the Azoulay administration at UNESCO in Paris, almost as bad as Antonio Guterres' corruption in and of the UN in New York. Not a day goes by without another startling discovery about the breakdown of rules and laws at UNESCO.

Most of the time, corrupt politicians enjoy and profit from money stolen from the public purse. But sometimes they struggle and suffer. This has been the case with the French Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay since the publication by Inner City Press of the information about her decision to go on vacation to Venice, Italy, and pay for a ‘vacation boat’ with funds from the regular budget of the Agency's culture sector (here).

  After being considerably angered by the revealed scam, the last ten days have been spent by her Cabinet building a counter-offensive to the revealed facts and trying to avoid Azoulay's public disgrace in front of increasingly curious member states.

 So far, for two of the five days of her stay, the Cabinet has managed to fabricate justifications for her trip to Venice. DG Azoulay also spent a day in Paris on Tuesday to meet with U.S. senators, then returned that evening to the "vacation boat" to spend the rest of the booked days with her husband and two children. Moreover, not only was the "vacation boat" rented with public money, but it was revealed that Azoulay used her UNESCO corporate credit card to pay for meals and other vacation expenses for her family.

 Inner City Press has also been informed that the information note for Azoulay's visit to Venice was sent by the Cabinet directly to the Italian ambassador instead of using the usual protocol channels. Why was this done if there was nothing to hide? The Italian ambassador Massimo Riccardo, a good friend of DG Azoulay, was therefore perfectly aware that this visit was private. This is the reason why the Italian authorities actually refused to ensure the protection of her and her family stay by the prefecture of Venice. 

In addition, Audrey Azoulay, in her usual arrogant and pretentious style, has requested a larger "vacation boat" than the one initially rented by the UNESCO office in Venice. It is worth mentioning who heads this office and who, strangely enough, just got a one-year extension approved by Azoulay after the legal retirement age. It is the director of the office, the Brazilian Ana Luiza Thompson-Flores. In April 2016, leaked minutes of a private session of the UNESCO Executive board revealed that the UK ambassador to UNESCO at that time, Matthew Sudders, launched a withering attack on DG Bokova's decision to make Ana Luiza Thompson-Flores, an 'under-qualified' Brazilian civil servant, her Assistant director-general for strategic planning.

 The British ambassador cited a suspicious embellishment of Mrs Thompson-Flores's CV and a job advert that was mysteriously rewritten to lower the post's criteria specially for her. DG Bokova denied any fraud, but a month later, however, she removed Thompson-Flores from the post and appointed her as the Director of the UNESCO Venice office. 

Upset by the revelations about her stay, Audrey Azoulay left Venice on Friday instead of staying as planned for the grand gala organized by Dior, which is normally the main bling bling event there. After landing in Paris on Friday, DG Azoulay started tweeting frantically about her "productive mission" in Venice. No one was fooled by this ridiculous attempt to divert attention from the disturbing questions about her full responsibility for the misuse of public money.  A directly related and relevant concern is the unethical behavior of the ADG for Culture, Chilean Ernesto Ottone.

 If his boss Azoulay asks him to jump out the window, would he do so without hesitation? So why was he in such a hurry to provide a budget code from his Sector for the "vacation boat" instead of playing his role of safeguarding the interests of the Culture Sector and using the Sector's budget for what it was voted by the General Conference. He is therefore as much at fault as Audrey Azoulay and his responsibility is fully engaged in this matter as well.

 There is a solid ground to be concerned and IOS must learn to investigate fraud and not leaks. Ernesto Ottone and Nicolas Kassianides, Azoulay's head of Cabinet in charge of the subsequent cover-up plan, could obviously be the first clients of IOS in this serious scandal.  Instead of spending time and energy looking for internal leaks, the IOS Director should instead instruct the verification of all of these disclosures.

On the other hand, if IOS investigators were truly trustworthy, instead of writing to Inner City Press, the whistleblowers would have contacted IOS directly with the above factual information. 

Now, for all those ambassadors to UNESCO who claim that Inner City's first report on the Venice trip was "fake news" because "the whole thing is too big to be true", they could ask their good friend Audrey Azoulay why, if she was really on a mission, instead of staying in a hotel near the UNESCO office and the buildings of the national authorities, she opted to stay with her family in a quiet and cushy vacation spot on the Giudecca island of the Venetian lagoon and not on the central island. In addition, they may want to visit the hotel of her stay - the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, at least virtually, as it is a very expensive one, but the visit is really worth it -- see here -- and check the gallery with the “60 reasons to love our hotel”. Then, whether this is a hotel for a DG on assignment and mission or a hotel for a DG on vacation is the question they may be able to answer on their own and in good conscience after this virtual tour that Inner City Press politely facilitates.

  The Executive Board Bureau members - the ambassadors of Germany, Poland, Argentina, China, India, Guinea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - have yet to decide whether to ask the IOS to investigate the matter. It has already been pointed out that in recent times several heads of UN agencies have resigned after their records of mismanagement, corruption and abuse of power were exposed. 

This is the UNESCO of today - a UN agency propitious to the flourishing of corruption, sexual performances-based promotions, abuse of power and nepotism. We will have more on that. Watch this site


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