Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg CJR, Independent, Fox, New Statesman, AJE, FP, NYT CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Corrupt UN of Guterres Steals Tax Money from Germany and Hosts Leaves Consultants Holding Bag

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive CJR  Video

UNITED NATIONS GATE, April 1  – Amid UN travel waste scandals overseen and mostly covered up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres - his firing of Erik Solheim being an incongruous example - whistleblowers have told Inner City Press of a new three times, extending the scandal from UNOPS in Geneva to CPD in Bonn and beyond. As Inner City Press reported, it first involved UNOPS, the UN Office of Project Services, as does this, which we exclusively report as Guterres' spokesman have refused to answer any Inner City Press questions for ten working days despite lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric's on camera promise of answers, and the written one of Guterres' USG Alison Smale: Several reports were received by Inner City Press from UNOPS consultants in Geneva who claim that after years of administrative uncertainty, they are now facing a threat of paying taxes for up to 5 years retroactively, which, for some of them, amounts to few hundred thousand US dollars. The consultants claim that while UNOPS has for the last few years denied any knowledge of tax issues in Geneva, UNOPS more recently have directed them to talk to Swiss local authorities.

  Now Inner City Press can report this is a pattern of the UN abusing not only the public services of the countries that host it but also its own consultant. Consider this account from a source to whom Inner City Press has offered anonymity due to the UN's penchant for retaliation even beyond the scope of employment in the ever more corrupt empire of impunity of Big Tony Antonio Guterres: "I admire your articles and courage to write about what really is going on in the UN organisations around the world.   I have recently read your article about corrupt UNOPS in Geneva, and the issue around the consultants and income taxes.   Well, the similar situation is happening here in Germany, at the UN headquarters in Germany - Bonn!  I worked as a consultant for a UN organization for the duration of three years - for the United Nations convention to combat desertification. Organisation, that in my opinion, should be scrapped once and for all, as the only goal the staff is interested in - keeping themselves their jobs, rather than doing something meaningful.  Millions of euros were spent to develop the UNCCD strategy, and spending millions to make countries report on it, then it had to be "aligned", millions spent to align the documents. by the time countries' national action plans were aligned, the strategy expired. Then UNCCD came up with the craziest idea - countries have to pursue Land Degradation Neutrality. Not sure that even ever changing politicians even do understand what that means. Meaning  that countries need to invest as much money to restore as much land as they degrade. and even each country has to set goals by when they will be land degradation neutral - Utopia. From what I heard from an insider, the UNCCD already abandoned internally the idea of LDN, but they just cannot report this publicly of course.   Aside from their utopia world, to implement their agenda, they hire consultants to implement any job that is needed. According to the UN board of auditors report (since 2017 German Bundesrechnungshof is chairing), in 2016, UNCCD engaged 153 consultants and 18 individual contractors, concluding 248 contracts, "The fees for consultants differed between $2,500 and $10,000 per month and the fees for individual contractors between $600 and $2,000."  Do you know, that the fees of 2,500 and 600 per month were actually paid to full time office consultants in Germany?   I have worked for the UNCCD, carrying out staff- like work - project officer, but was paid barely as much as a travel assistant earns net, and on top of that gets all the UN benefits, retirement, leave, etc.   From my earnings, I had to pay income taxes, about which most of the consultants who have worked for the UN agencies there for decades, are either unaware or just hide their earnings. more likely - the latter.   I ended up paying income taxes for two years at once, and started prepaying income taxes immediately.  It impacted my personal life enormously. Tax authorities in Germany do not give you any excuse to delay tax payments, they make you pay everything at once, and charge huge penalties for paying taxes late.   I complained to German authorities about my situation, and thanks God, they are on my side. The UN agencies, not only the UNCCD, breaching the law on fictitious self-employment, prohibiting companies to hire individuals as consultants to avoid paying health insurance, retirement, social and unemployment insurance.   In my case, the German authorities came to an official verdict, that the UNCCD in relation to me, breached the rule. Now the UNCCD faces to pay all the contributions for retirement, health insurance, social insurance retroactively, and probably the fine. But as far as I am aware, the UNCCD has not reacted to any of the letters, they "enjoy their immunity status". But they are based in Germany, and they hire people who live in Germany. they must abide the rules of the country.   Ironically, similar case happened in UN ILO organization in Madrid, where UN ILO fired a consultant, who later filed a case against them in Madrid labour court.  In the end, Spain lifted immunity of UN ILO and made them pay around 43,000 euros to the consultant. In cases, where there is breach of human, civil, employment rights, countries can lift UN immunity status.   I know a woman, who worked as a consultant for the UNCCD for 600 dollars per month, later her salary was increased to 1000, afterwards she got pregnant and left, but was working there almost until 9 months. this is ridiculous.  Another friend of mine worked there as a procurement assistant, she had a shield on her door as another staff member - procurement assistant. Only my friend was earning 2000 euros per month net, from which as a "self-employed" person she had to pay 400 euros for health insurance, income taxes, retirement. In the end she had pennies left. She, as other consultants, and myself, was not entitled to any sick leave, annual leave, any benefits at all. While a staff procurement assistant was earning 4000 euros net, plus health insurance, retirement, annual leave, entitlements for un kindergarten, etc.   Germany has a very complex employment scheme. 99% of work force here are employed, while only 1% are self employed.  The labor laws here prescribe that an employer pays half contributions to health insurance, immediately deducts contributions towards public health insurance companies, income taxes, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, social insurance. In case a person loses his or her job, they are entitled for Unemployment payments equaling to around 60% of their salary per month for one year. If a woman gets pregnant, she is entitled to receive 67% of her salary for one year, and employer has to keep her job place for 3 years.   None of this applies to UN consultants. I was pregnant during my consultancy with the UNCCD, and I had to save whatever possible for my "maternity". I worked there until 3 weeks prior to delivery, while employed women in Germany leave already during the 7th month.  And you know, the same thing happening not only at the UNCCD but also with all other UN agencies in Bonn. People are given contracts: consultant, individual contractor, personal service agreement, on all of these people have to pay taxes. But they do not. UNU in Bonn for example, almost all of their staff are on personal service agreements, people that are hired are based in Germany.   on top of that, from what I heard from insiders, UN staff who work in Bonn, come here of course with their families and spouses. Since their wives are also covered through UN private insurance, once they get employed for example, by a company in Germany, there were real cases, when these companies do not deduct contributions to public health insurances, income taxes and other contributions, since they are insured privately.  So, these families enjoy even a higher disposable income and never report their income taxes!   The higher managerial UN staff even claim all the VAT back from Germany. Turns out they are entitled to that. My former boss, for example, would collect all of his private checks, and claim all the VAT back.   I know that these issues are already publicly known in Geneva. Probably, because their office is much larger than in Germany. In Germany, it is still not public, since most of the consultants keep quiet about it not having paid taxes.   I have been so much disappointed in the entire UN system.  I have personally decided to move on, and not think about all of these, but some part of me cannot let it go. UN stand for human rights, eradication of poverty, women empowerment, but what it does itself, is outrageous!! I found myself on the borderline of poverty, with a baby. And do you think any of the UN staff cared? NO! they are just interested to make their pockets full. When I went to complain about it to HR, the woman told me, well we cannot hire you as a staff, because we would have to pay your health insurance and other contributions, and for that they did not have budget!   My managers were traveling all the time, and getting salaries and DSA allowances with at times more than 20,000 usd coming to their accounts. I had access to such information, and this is true, trust me. And consultants were treated as slaves." We'll have more on this.

    It is said that UNOPS deploys over 300 consultants in Geneva, who have, all of a sudden, been told, in late 2018,  that their contracts were not tax exempt. We are told that over the past couple of months few dozen UNOPS consultants have resigned, and fled the country.    In an attempt to save face, Mr Moin Karim, UNOPS Regional Director, has forced some of his consultants to sign fraudulent new contracts, that claim that they work from countries other than Switzerland, where UN is exempt from paying tax on its consultants, in order to avoid mass resignations or fines by the Swiss government. These consultants, who pretend to be working from abroad, continue coming to their offices at UNOPS in Geneva on daily basis – a scam that Mr Moin is trapped to maintain in order to justify the relatively large size of the UNOPS office in Geneva, which in turn justifies the size of his Directorate and his position, rank and pay grade within UNOPS.   Moin Karim of UNOPS reportedly does not frequently come to his office in Geneva these days, and mostly works from either his expensive Geneva mansion - akin to Guterres and his $15 million Sutton Place mansion -  or his private resort apartment in the Swiss mountains, to avoid dealing with UNOPS disgruntled employees or anything to do with UNOPS. Instead, Mr Karim has been paying frequent visits to a number of fashion events in Geneva and London (where he happens to own yet another luxury apartment), as can be seen here and here.   It is also reported that Mr Moin Karim is not just an ordinary visitor to these fashion events, but he also heavily invests into the fashion industry, perhaps as his fallback plan, should UNOPS Executive Director one day find down the extent to which matters are confused in UNOPS Geneva office and ask Mr Karim to resign, the whistleblowers muse.  One also wonders, how a UN staff member, whose career has seen nothing but civil servant work to UN over the past 20 years, can afford buying properties in 2 most expensive capitals to live in the world. But a fish rots from the head - Guterres omitted from his UN public financial disclosure covering 2016 his paid board position with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which tried to sell its Partex Oil to UN briber CEFC China Energy. A fish rots from the head - but we will continue to ramp up coverage of both the head and the tail, or fins...  Since Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to answer any of banned Inner City Press 36 questions in the penultimate week of 2018, and 15 in the year's final week including about Guterres' own conflicts of interest, and even worse in 2019, here is more on the story of UNOPS as block box for corruption in Guterres' UN, exclusive to Inner City Press (first in this series, on Rachel Kyte of SE4ALL, here): "The UN Office of Project Services, as recently revealed exclusively to Inner City Press by whistleblowers, is being used to pay for extensive and expensive travel of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-Generalon Sustainable Energy, Rachel Kyte, and her entourage, for over $400,000 in less than two years, was also used as a cover mechanism for expensive travel by agencies, whose own rules prohibit flying consultants and staff on business class. It was reported to Inner City Press - and apparently not yet to the OIOS which Guterres so controls it does not even confirm receipt of detailed complaints including regarding Guterres -  that United Nations Environment Program, UNHCR and UN Habitat have repeatedly used UNOPS to book business class flights for staff who would otherwise be ineligible to fly business  class within their organizations.

 Some of the cases, exclusively reported to Inner City Press, include a flight for one of the directors of an agency, hosted at UNOPS, in first class for over $35,000, this is said to be one of many similar cases. There are a number of travelers holding UNOPS employment contracts, whose travel expenses are as high as those of Rachel Kyte and the resigned / fired (hypocritically by Guterres) head of UNEP Erik Solheim. The extensive costs are apparently not only due to business class flights, but also include 5-star hotels, expensive dining, frequently with friends and families invited, airport limousine services, that is on top of the standard UN per diems. 
In 2017, Mr Moin Karim, the director of UNOPS office in Geneva, reportedly received  formal warnings from member states that UNOPS actions and policies have reduced their confidence in the UNOPS leadership and management. While Mr Moin Karim of UNOPS had reassured the donor governments that he will take all necessary actions, he did not seem to be doing much, given the recently discovered case of extensive travel by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-Generalon Sustainable Energy, Rachel Kyte.
It seems that UNOPS has set-up an official service line that allows for any entity to bypass the UN and donor requirements. The mechanism, set up by UNOPS, is called by UNOPS hosting management, and is managed from UNOPS Geneva office. Headed by Mr Moin Karim, UNOPS office in Geneva facilitates global travel for few hundred consultants of various UN and hosted agencies, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), The Stop TB Partnership and Scale-up Nutrition Movement.
In September this year at an opening remark to host another entity, Grete Faremo, appointed by Guterres as UNOPS Executive Director, remarked that when hosted-partnership joins the UNOPS family, UNOPS rules and policies become theirs, and UNOPS extends the scope of UNOPS legal framework, to cover the initiatives that UNOPS hosts. This is a very clear statement of intent to offer a UN-branded platform to by-pass UN and donor rules. This is the UN of Guterres, who covered up his links to that attempted sale of Partex Oil to CEFC, and roughs up and bans the Press which asks.

From Inner City Press' first this series: "Rachel Kyte, the Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, traveled on business class for $300,000 in 15 months of 2017 and 2018, and $410,000 in 22 months, which doesn’t include her assistants who she insists must take same business class flights as well as few other accompanying crew.

To avoid being exposed to external audit, Se4all, registered independently from UN, sub-contracts UNOPS to manage its travel and consultancy funds, who in turn uses the donor funds (EU, Sweden, UK, Germany, IKEA and others) and its exceptionally flexible travel policy for high officials and consultants to allow for such extensive expenditures, which exceeds UNEPs CEO travel budget. This is happening under the protection of UNOPS Regional Director, Moin Karim, who threatens his team to close their eyes on this misuse of funds, in spite of the issue being brought up by the UNOPS staff to Mr Karim few times." The below has been turned in to the UN's questionable Office of Internal Oversight Services, which must now take notice of this. As Guterres was refusing throughout 2018 to begin any UN audit into China Energy Fund Committee, implicated in the UN bribery prosecution US v Patrick Ho, Guterres had a secret.

   Guterres was and it seems still is connected with and compensated by a company which was trying to sell its oil and gas business to China Energy Fund Committee in 2018. Guterres' failure to disclose and refusal to audit was a direct conflict of interest, which he has tried to cover up by roughing up and banning Inner City Press which asked him about it. (See January 2018 press conference here, July 2018 roughing up by Guterres' UN Security here, banning letter via Press Freedom Tracker here.)

   For years Guterres received money as a board member of the Calouste Galbenkian Foundation, which despite its name is the 100% owner of Partex Oil and Gas. Partex has operations in Angola, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Oman and Portugal. It was to a Portuguese court that Guterres, while justifying no listing some of his income, disclosed in 2016 that he was paid at least € 2735 per month for his position with the Gulbenkian Foundation.

   But while a now deleted Foundation web page (archived here) stated that Guterres continued with Gulbenkian into 2018, Guterres did not list it on his most recent, and so far lone, UN Public Financial Disclosure, which covered 2016 ("Disclosing financial and other interests for the 2016 reporting year").

  So why did Guterres disclose his position with the Club of Madrid, but not with the Gulbenkian Foundation / Partex Oil and Gas? It is worth noting that Guterres' wife Catarina Vaz Pinto has also been connected to Gulbenkian.

   Following the roughing up and banning from the UN of Inner City Press which has covered the CEFC scandal throughout, Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale promised UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye, who asked, that the UN would still answer Inner City Press' written questions.

   But as 2018 came to a close Guterres' spokesmen Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq left unanswered 36 questions in a row from Inner City Press, including this: “Beyond the 35 questions from Inner City Press you refused to answer this week, this is a request on deadline that you (1) state when SG Guterres left his position on the Gulbenkian Foundation,

(2) state why Gulbenkian was not listed on SG Guterres' public financial disclosure which covered 2016;

(3) explain how it is not a conflict of interest for SG Guterres to have refused to start an audit of CEFC in the UN, as requested by Inner City Press in January 2018, given CEFC's bid for the oil business of Gulbenkian.

Also, again, state why under SG Guterres there have been no updates to the UN public financial disclosures since those filed for 2016. Also, again, explain your refusal to answer any of Inner City Press' questions this week despite USG Smale's statements to GAP, me and UNSR David Kaye. On deadline.”

   The question was also sent to the e-mail addresses of Guterres, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed, and Smale, who earlier in the week told Inner City Press she would take “under advisement” her 17 August 2018 pretextual withdrawal of Inner City Press decade long UN media accreditation.
  It seems clear that Guterres and his team have engaged in censorship for corruption, to conceal a blatant conflict of interest by Guterres. It has been raised by Inner City Press to the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, and others.  Watch this site.


Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office, past & future?: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA
For now UNder Guterres: UN Delegates Entrance Gate
and mail: Dag H. Center Box 20047, NY NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

 Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2019 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for