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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Former United Nations Employee Charged With Making False Statements To Cover Up Sexual Assaults

Karim Elkorany Allegedly Drugged and Sexually Assaulted Multiple Women While Working for the United Nations

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that KARIM ELKORANY, a former communications specialist with the United Nations (“UN”) in Iraq, was charged in an Indictment in Manhattan federal court with two counts of making false statements to special agents of the FBI in an effort to conceal his drugging and sexual assault of multiple women while he worked for the UN.  ELKORANY was arrested in New Jersey today and is expected to be presented before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott this afternoon.  The case is assigned to District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Karim Elkorany, a former United Nations communications specialist, was accused of furtively drugging and sexually assaulting several women.  When questioned by the FBI, Elkorany compounded his alleged unconscionable conduct by making false statements to the special agents investigating the assaults.  Thanks to the diligence of the FBI, Elkorany now faces serious time in an American federal prison.  We urge any individuals who may have information concerning Elkorany or any similar conduct to please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL- FBI or tips.fbi.gov.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Investigated by UN officials for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in Iraq in 2016, Elkorany caught the eye of the FBI.  Elkorany’s conduct, as detailed in today’s charges, is abhorrent, and the false statements made to the FBI Special Agents conducting this investigation are federal offenses. Our investigation continues, and if anyone has information about Elkorany, please contact us at 1-800-CALL- FBI or via our tipline at tips.fbi.gov.”

According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and publicly available information:[1]

Since at least in or about 2005 up to at least in or about April 2018, ELKORANY worked in international aid, development, and/or foreign relations.  From in or about October 2013 up to in or about April 2016, ELKORANY worked for the UN Children’s Fund in Iraq.  From in or about July 2016 up to in or about April 2018, ELKORANY worked as a Communications Specialist for the UN in Iraq. 

In or about November 2016, ELKORANY drugged and sexually assaulted a woman (“Victim-1”) in Iraq, where he was stationed while working for the UN.  Victim-1 had food and alcoholic beverages with ELKORANY at a restaurant, after which ELKORANY brought Victim-1 to his apartment.  While at ELKORANY’s apartment, Victim-1 was rendered unconscious.  Victim-1 regained consciousness for brief periods, during which she observed ELKORANY sexually assaulting her but was physically unable to stop him.  ELKORANY, among other things, put his penis in Victim-1’s mouth and anally penetrated Victim-1. 

In or around December 2016, Victim-1 reported the sexual assault to the UN.  The UN initiated an investigation, through which ELKORANY was notified of the substance of Victim-1’s allegations against him.

Federal agents subsequently uncovered evidence that ELKORANY had engaged in a pattern of similar conduct involving other women.  In each instance, ELKORANY drugged the victim before sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault the victim while the victim was unconscious or partially conscious.  In particular, between in or around 2009 and in or around 2016, ELKORANY sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault at least five victims after the victims were rendered unconscious after consuming alcoholic beverages prepared by ELKORANY.  When some of the victims regained consciousness, some or all of their clothing had been removed.  In some instances, after they awoke, ELKORANY informed the victims, in substance and in part, that they had sexual intercourse, oral sex, and/or anal sex with him.  In some instances, when or after the victims regained consciousness, the victims experienced genital and anal discomfort and pain.

On or about November 3, 2017, special agents working with the New York Field Office of the FBI conducted a voluntary interview of ELKORANY outside of his residence in New Jersey.  Agents conducting the interview identified themselves and informed ELKORANY that they were investigating, among other things, his interactions with Victim-1.  During that interview, ELKORANY, who expressed familiarity with the nature and substance of the allegations made by Victim-1 to the UN, stated that the allegations Victim-1 had made to the UN were false.  ELKORANY also stated that he had not used drugs with Victim-1 or provided Victim-1 with any drugs.

*                *                *

ELKORANY, 37, of West Orange, New Jersey, is charged with two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement agents, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss praised the outstanding work of the FBI.  Ms. Strauss also thanked the United States Department of State and the UN for their assistance, and noted that the investigation is ongoing.  Any individuals who believe they have information concerning ELKORANY or any similar conduct should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL- FBI or tips.fbi.gov.           

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Richenthal, Amanda L. Houle, and Lara Pomerantz are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the Indictment and the descriptions of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Violent Crime
Contact: 
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
20-184
Updated September 2, 2020