Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

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

French Mission Had No Comment on Dip Serman, Now Shouts Twice After 34 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 13 -- Following last week's US indictment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade for underpaying a domestic worker, Inner City Press cited the case of French diplomat Romain Serman, about which it had asked the French Mission to the UN for comment.

  While the French Mission had declined to comment and instead made only threats, twice on January 13 French Ambassador Gerard Araud summoned Inner City Press at the Security Council stakeout and shouted.

  His spokesperson had told Inner City Press that pursuing the story was a "hostile act." And on January 13, when Inner City Press asked when his spokesperson had declined the opportunity to comment, Araud insisted it was all just outrageous, and made other threats.

  Back in 2011 Inner City Press uncovered and exclusively reported on the case of a French diplomat, Romain Serman, who after resisting arrest while allegedly buying cocaine was later allowed to leave the country. See story here, arrest report here.

  In connection with that story, Inner City Press expressly asked the French Mission to the UN to comment on, explain or contest the NYPD arrest record document.  They did not -- rather, Inner City Press was told that it being published was a "hostile act."

   The French Mission took other actions that form another story. But the point is, the French Mission was asked for comment, and made none.
   Now, 32 months later, French Ambassador Araud approached Inner City Press at the Security Council stakeout just after 10 am on January 13. He said the arrest document is from 2006 but Serman did not leave the US until 2007. He said, "if you had checked --"

  Inner City Press replied that his Mission was asked for comment but gave none, only threats.

  Araud said, "You let me finish first!"  Inner City Press continued to listen, but as soon as Araud finished he turned and walked into the Security Council.

  Later on January 13, at 1 pm with the Security Council's consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo still ongoing, Ambassador Araud emerged and again began shouting at Inner City Press. While we'll have more on this, notably Araud still did not explain why, when given the chance to comment, it had responded only with threats.

   Why was no comment given by the French Mission back in April 2011, including on the other leaked documents they objected to about the UN mission on Cote d'Ivoire ONUCI and other topics? There is more to be said on all this as well.

 But, in comparison to Ms. Khobragade, it seems clear that Serman was NOT placed on any US watch list, because he not only returned to the US -- he is now France's consul in San Francisco.

  While it may be debatable if resisting arrest for attemped cocaine purchase is more or less serious than allegedly underpaying a domestic worker, the disparity in US treatment between the French and Indian and French diplomat has still not been explained.

  Usually the agreement upon being allowed to leave the US in this way is that the person will not come back to the US. But Romain Serman came back to the US -- as France's consul in San Francisco, still.

  When Inner City Press reported this, the then spokesperson of the French mission demanded that Inner City Press remove the story from the Internet.

  As with stories on Sri Lanka that the United Nations Correspondents Association demanded be taken down from the Internet or Inner City Press face expulsion, Inner City Press refused. The French spokesperson called this a "hostile act" (Inner City Press countered that it was an act of journalism) and things proceeded from there.

  This becomes even more relevant now in light of reports not only of the disparity in indictment of Khobragade versus none for the French Serman, but of US State Department spokesperson Psaki's comments last week about Khobragade being put on a watch list.

  Back in April 2011, Inner City Press asked spokespeople at the US Mission to the UN and then Mark Toner at the State Department, "Was the State Department aware of Serman's arrest record when he re-entered in 2010, and how does applicable law and precedent allow this?"

 And we're still waiting for a response, as we are to FOIA requests pending at the State Department. Soon the new Free UN Coalition for Access will have to get on this case. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, 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 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]