'Toxic' WIPO catches flak as US congressmen call for Gurry's head

Director general in the sights as legislators urge publication of controversial report

United Nations building photo Arnaldo Jr via Shutterstock

The heads of several congressional committees have written to John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, to urge him to deal with the corruption scandal boiling over at the UN's WIPO.

As The Register reported last week, a secret UN report into the behaviour of Francis Gurry, the head of the WIPO, found him guilty of “conduct... inconsistent with the standards expected of a staff member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.”

The document, marked Strictly Confidential for Member States, was seen by The Register. It was an excerpt from an investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, but reduced that 1,000-page probe to just three pages, with names and financial details redacted.

Last year, a former deputy director of WIPO wrote to US Secretary of State John Kerry appealing to the USA to exercise its traditional oversight role over UN agencies (as it typically provides most of their funding) in the Gurry case.

That letter is now joined by another, signed by representatives of five internationally-focused congressional subcommittees, which you can read here (PDF).

The letter stated the congressmen's support of "the use of our leverage in order to bring this report to light and we stand ready to work with our Mission to hold WIPO officials accountable. We also believe that the environment surrounding WIPO is toxic, and therefore urge the administration to press for the immediate dismissal of Director-General Gurry and the reinstatement of the WIPO whistleblowers." ®

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