UN employee, Russians arrested on immigration fraud
Aug 6, 2007, 17:15 GMT
New York - A United Nations employee from Russia and two other Russian nationals have been arrested on charges that they provided illegal entry into the United States to numerous non- citizens, a US attorney said Monday.
Michael J Garcia, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said charges were unsealed Monday against Vyacheslav Manokhin, an employee at UN headquarters in New York, and Vladimir Derevianko and Kamiljan Tursunov.
The three Russians were accused of carrying out ‘a scheme to provide illegal entry into the United States for numerous non-US citizens.’
The charges involve fraudulent documents, some allegedly prepared on United Nations letterhead, requesting US entry visas for non- citizens to attend UN conferences in the United States, which did not take place or which those involved did not attend.
‘In most instances, the alien was successful in obtaining a visa and entering the US,’ a press release said. It said one document requesting a US visa was prepared on UN Development Programme (UNDP) letterhead signed by a non-existent UN official.
Manokhin lived in Connecticut and worked at UN headquarters as a translator, while Derevianko lived in New Jersey and Tursunov resided in Florida. Manokhin and Derevianko were arrested on Monday and Tursunov was arrested on July 25.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN cooperated in Manokhin’s arrest and confirmed that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lifted his diplomatic immunity as a UN employee.
Haq said the UN internal oversight and legal affairs offices had worked with US law enforcement authorities and provided all needed information that led to the arrests of the three Russians.
One document on UNDP letterhead requested US visas for Tursunov and another individual to attend a UN conference, the US attorney’s press release said. Tursunov admitted to US federal agents that he paid 15,000 dollars to an individual in Uzbekistan for his US visa, but he had no intention of attending the conference.
Tursunov entered the US and had been living in Florida for more than two years before his arrest.
Manokhin told US investigators that he allowed Derevianko to use his UN telephone number as a contact for various immigration documents. Both Manokhin and Derevianko had allegedly been working on the fraudulent immigration scheme since 2005.
If convicted, Manokhin and Tursunov could get a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, while Derevianko could get up to 10 years.