Former UN employee is charged with making false statements to cover up sexual assault in Iraq

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A former United Nations employee has been charged in the U.S. with making false statements to cover up the drugging and sexual assault of multiple women in Iraq.

Karim Elkorany, 37, was arrested on Wednesday at his residence in West Orange, New Jersey on two counts of making false statements to federal agents, and appeared in Manhattan federal court later in the day.

From 2013 to 2018, Elkorany worked as a spokesman for the UN Children’s Fund and later the UN mission in Iraq.

Prosecutors say that between 2009 and 2016, Elkorany sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault at least five women while the victims were unconscious after consuming alcoholic drinks that he had prepared.

The United Nations headquarters in New York is seen in a file photo. Former UN employee Karim Elkorany, 37, was arrested on Wednesday at his residence in West Orange, New Jersey on two counts of making false statements to federal agents

The United Nations headquarters in New York is seen in a file photo. Former UN employee Karim Elkorany, 37, was arrested on Wednesday at his residence in West Orange, New Jersey on two counts of making false statements to federal agents

Some of the women say that when they regained consciousness, Elkorany admitted that he’d had sex with them, and some experienced genital or anal pain after awaking, prosecutors say.

In one instance, in November 2016, one victim said that after dining out with Elkorany, she returned to his apartment and lost consciousness, but regained consciousness intermittently to find Elkorany sexually assaulting her, according to the indictment.

The woman reported her allegation to the UN, which initiated an investigation, and in November 2017, two FBI agents interviewed Elkorany outside his New Jersey residence.

Elkorany denied the allegation in the interview, and said that he had not used drugs on the woman, or provided her with drugs, according to the indictment.

A Kurdish flag flutters in front of the Quru Gusik refugee camp on the outskirts of the city of Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region in 2013. Prosecutors say that between 2009 and 2016, Elkorany sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault at least five women

A Kurdish flag flutters in front of the Quru Gusik refugee camp on the outskirts of the city of Arbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region in 2013. Prosecutors say that between 2009 and 2016, Elkorany sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault at least five women

‘When questioned by the FBI, Elkorany compounded his alleged unconscionable conduct by making false statements to the special agents investigating the assaults,’ Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Richenthal, Amanda L. Houle, and Lara Pomerantz are in charge of the prosecution. 

It was not immediately clear whether Elkorany had an attorney to speak on his behalf. 

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts.  

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