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Execs Fired in U.N. Procurement Scandal

Three food services executives have been fired for their roles in a bid-rigging scheme involving the United Nations Procurement Department (search).

Compass Group (search), a British-based company which bills itself as the largest catering service in the world, announced in a press release that Peter Harris, Andy Seiwert and one other high-ranking employee were dismissed for actions relating to dealings with IHC Services (search), which helped companies obtain U.N. contracts.

Harris served as the head of Compass's British operations and a subsidiary called ESS, which held several U.N. contracts for feeding peacekeepers; those contracts are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

FOX News has learned that in one case, ESS (search) won a multi-million dollar contract to provide food to U.N. peacekeepers in Liberia five days after Seiwert received confidential bid information from IHC Services CEO Ezio Testa.

Click on the video box to the right to see a report by FOX News' Jonathan Hunt.

In addition to the firings, Compass management announced that an internal investigation of the affair is ongoing.

"The investigation has raised serious concerns as to whether, within ESS, there has been, in connection with IHC and the U.N., improper conduct and a failure to comply with the company's statement of business principles," Compass said in a statement.

The company said it will cooperate with all of the authorities looking into its dealings with IHC, whose ties to the United Nations stretch from the procurement department up to Secretary General Kofi Annan's (search) inner circle.

FOX News learned that Italian diplomat and longtime U.N. veteran, Giandomenico Picco (search), at one time served as both the chairman of the board of IHC Services and as a U.N. undersecretary-general and personal representative for Annan.

Another U.N. employee, Alexander Yakovlev (search), secured a job for his son at IHC while he was doling out contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the procurement department. After FOX News revealed that fact and details of his offshore bank account, Yakovlev pleaded guilty to corruption and money laundering last August.

George Russel and Jonathan Hunt contributed to this report.