NEW YORK – A former United Nations procurement official was convicted Thursday of charges that he helped a friend secure $100 million in U.N. contracts in exchange for a huge discount on two luxury Manhattan apartments and cash.
Sanjaya Bahel, 57, chief of the U.N.'s Commodity Procurement Section from 1999 to 2003, had maintained his innocence since his November arrest.
He was convicted of bribery, wire fraud and mail fraud, charges which carry a potential penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Bahel slumped in his chair when the verdict was read.
His one-time co-defendant, Nishan Kohli, pleaded guilty to bribery and testified against Bahel, saying Bahel gave his family so much inside information about pending contracts that the Kohlis came to think of Bahel as a business partner.
Kohli, of Miami, testified in Manhattan's U.S. District Court that Bahel met his father, Nanak Kohli, when both men worked in Washington in the early 1980s and socialized with others who had moved to the United States from India.