Annan Won't Comment on Growing Questions

Kofi Annan (search) returned to the United Nations on Thursday morning but would not comment about newly released documents that raised questions about his role in the Oil-for-Food scandal and what he told investigators.

The U.N. secretary-general told reporters that the Independent Inquiry Committee into Oil-for-Food headed by Paul Volcker was looking into the matter. Annan made no substantive comment about the suggestion that he may have lied.

Annan is under scrutiny because of his longtime friendship with Michael Wilson, a former vice president of the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection S.A. (search). Wilson at one time was the supervisor of Annan's son, Kojo Annan, when Cotecna won a lucrative Oil-for-Food contract.

Two e-mails written by Wilson in 1998 raise questions about what Annan knew about the awarding of the contract. The e-mails came to light this week and Volcker's investigators said they were "urgently reviewing" the fresh evidence.

Asked if he would resign if the Volcker panel determines that he withheld information, Annan said he would not respond to a speculative question except to say that he has told investigators everything.

In an interview with France's Le Figaro newspaper published Thursday, Annan said he has no intention of resigning and is determined to press for approval of a sweeping reform proposal unveiled in March to enable the United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

"I take seriously the allegations against me ... We all want the truth," said Annan, who did not specifically mention the e-mails or make any direct reference to his son in the comments to Le Figaro.

On Wednesday, Wilson said he never, personally, discussed the firm's bid with the U.N. chief, his lawyers said Wednesday.

In one of the documents from 1998, Michael Wilson describes a brief encounter in which officials from Cotecna discussed the company's bid for the contract with the secretary-general "and his entourage" during a summit of French-speaking nations in Paris in late 1998.

The London law firm Schillings issued a brief statement on behalf of Wilson.

"Mr. Wilson never met or had any discussion with the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, on the issue of the bid for the U.N. contract by Cotecna at the Francophone Summit, during the bidding process, or at any time prior to the award of the contract," the statement said.

One e-mail refers to the U.N. program and says: "We had brief discussions with the SG [the acronym for secretary-general] and his entourage. Their collective advise [sic] was that we should respond as best as we could to the Q-and-A session of the 1-12-98 and that we could count on their support." The contents of that e-mail were first reported by The New York Times.

The numbers "1-12-98 " refer to a Dec. 1, 1998, meeting between Cotecna executives and U.N. officials in New York at which the contract was discussed.

The second e-mail from the same Cotecna executive, sent minutes after the first, discussed a meeting that took place three days earlier with U.N. procurement officials to talk about the contract bid and expressed his confidence that the company would get the bid because of "effective but quiet lobbying" in New York diplomatic circles.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Tuesday that U.N. officials reviewed the records of Kofi Annan's 1998 Paris trip "and there is no mention in that trip record of any exchange with Michael Wilson."

FOX News' Jonathan Hunt, Jonathan Wachtel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.