Wikileaks round-up: Turkmenistan leader 'vain and corrupt'

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The Independent Online

The President of Turkmenistan, one of the world's most secretive countries, is a vain liar accused of corruption on a vast scale, according to the diplomatic cables.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, below, has run the gas-rich desert nation since 2006. The Turkmen President is described as a control freak who personally signs off minutiae such as work rotas for leading doctors in the capital, and is obsessed with cleanliness.

"About 30 years ago, when Berdymukhammedov owned an old Russian car, he would leave it at home if it rained and take a taxi instead," according to one cable.

The leaks also suggest that Mr Berdymukhammedov was given a £50m yacht by a Russian company in exchange for Russia winning lucrative contracts.

US worried about rising Israeli gang crime

The United States is worried about a rise in organised crime in Israel and is doing all it can to prevent violent gangs from expanding across the Atlantic.

A US diplomatic cable entitled "Israel, a promised land for organized crime?", was released by WikiLeaks and shows more than just nuclear diplomacy and peace prospects concern the United States in the Middle East.

"Given the volume of travel and trade between the United States and Israel, it is not surprising that Israeli [organised crime] has also gained a foothold in America," said the cable, signed by James Cunningham, the US Ambassador to Israel in May 2009.

A handful of powerful families in Israel have traditionally run illegal neighbourhood casinos, prostitution and loan sharking operations, the cable said. In 2003, Israel passed an anti-organised crime law and in 2008 created a new unit to combat the problem.

UN nuclear watchdog 'on side of the US'

UN nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano insisted yesterday that he was impartial in his work, after the leaks said he agreed with the United States on key issues, including Iran.

Mr Amano had suggested in meetings with US diplomats before he took office last year that "he was solidly in the US court on every key strategic decision", according to published leaks. The revelation may worsen relations between Mr Amano, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iran at a time when major powers are seeking to restart efforts to resolve a long-running row over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Talks between Iran and six big powers – the US, France, Russia, Britain, China and Germany – are due to resume next week in Geneva in the first meeting in more than year.

Amano, whom some developing states see as biased in favour of Western powers, said it was "not appropriate" for him to comment on internal US documents distributed by the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website.

When he was asked whether the incident could undermine his role to serve all members of the Vienna-based UN organisation, he said that he had done nothing wrong and that his "professional conscience" was clear.

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