The following is a statement attributable to Michael Holtzman, spokesman for the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC), concerning payment of Benon Sevan's legal fees:

"The rationale used by the United Nations to justify payment of Mr. Benon Sevan's legal fees, as stated in their press release yesterday, March 22, 2005, is incorrect as it relates to the IIC.

The IIC -- as an exception -- allowed Mr. Sevan to be accompanied by legal counsel during their interviews with him. However, the Committee did so because Mr. Sevan was the single individual against whom the most serious and direct allegations of corruption had been made, as of that time. This exception was not motivated, as suggested by the United Nation's statement, by a desire to induce Mr. Sevan to cooperate.

The IIC has at no time proffered an opinion on the payment of Mr. Sevan's legal costs."