Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that KARIM ELKORANY, a former communications specialist with the United Nations (“UN”) in Iraq, pled guilty before United States District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald to sexually assaulting an internationally protected person and making false statements to cover up another sexual assault. In connection with the plea, ELKORANY also admitted that he drugged and/or sexually assaulted seventeen additional victims.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Karim Elkorany admitted today to drugging at least 19 victims, and sexually assaulting at least 13 of them while they were unconscious after he drugged them. He committed many of his heinous crimes while employed by the United Nations. Nothing can reclaim what Elkorany stole from his victims, but we hope the victims will take some measure of comfort in knowing that Elkorany has admitted to and been convicted of his abominable crimes. We again urge anyone who thinks they may be victim of Elkorany to please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.”
According to the Indictment, public court filings, and statements during court proceedings:
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. ELKORANY drugged Victim-1 and brought Victim-1 to his apartment. While at ELKORANY’s apartment, ELKORANY sexually assaulted Victim-1 while she was unconscious. 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.
On or about November 3, 2017, special agents working with the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) conducted a voluntary interview of ELKORANY outside of his residence in New Jersey. During that interview, ELKORANY expressed familiarity with the nature and substance of the allegations made by Victim-1 to the UN, but falsely stated that the drugging and sexual assault by ELKORANY that Victim-1 had reported to the UN did not occur.
ELKORANY also engaged in a pattern of similar conduct involving many other women. Between in or around 2014 and in or around 2019, ELKORANY drugged and sexually assaulted a woman (“Victim-2”), who was a contractor for a UN organization at relevant times, in the United States and Iraq, among other locations, on multiple occasions. In addition to Victim-1 and Victim‑2, ELKORANY drugged and sexually assaulted eleven additional victims between in or around 2002 and in or around 2016, and drugged six additional victims between in or around 2007 and 2016.
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ELKORANY, 38, of West Orange, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of making false statements to special agents of the FBI, and one count of assault of an internationally protected person. The total maximum term of prison on these two counts is 15 years.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court. ELKORANY is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Buchwald on September 29, 2022.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Williams also thanked the United States Department of State and the UN for their assistance. 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 Lara Pomerantz, Amanda L. Houle, Daniel C. Richenthal, and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.