Former UN official charged with lying about rape in Iraq

NEW YORK (AP) — A former United Nations official accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several women has been charged with lying to the FBI.

Karim Elkorany, who worked as a telecommunications specialist in Iraq, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.

Elkorany’s defense attorney, Dawn Cardi, denied the charges and said her client plans to “vigorously fight” them in Manhattan federal court.

Elkorany, 37, of West Orange, New Jersey, resigned from the U.N. in early 2018, a few months after FBI agents questioned him outside his home about a woman who accused Elkorany of drugging and raping her in Iraq in 2016.

Elkorany “expressed familiarity” with the woman’s claims, authorities said, but falsely denied drugging and raping her.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges Elkorany engaged in a pattern of similar conduct involving at least five women since 2009. All of the women had been rendered unconscious after drinking alcoholic drinks prepared by Elkorany, the authorities said.

Elkorany worked in international aid, development and foreign relations for the U.N. He had also previously worked for the U.N. Children’s Fund in Iraq, officials said.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the U.N. referred the criminal allegations to U.S. authorities and “cooperated extensively” with the investigation.