A supervisor at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has been accused of taking bribes and breaking security rules to let Qatar and other countries park their planes overnight for United Nations General Assemblies over the past five years.
AP reports that Marlene Mizzi, 54, was indicated on Wednesday on charges of receiving an award for official misconduct.
A travel coordinator working on behalf of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN, 58-year-old Joseph Jourieh, was also accused of giving Mizzi meals, limo rides and a watch, according to the news service.
The two face up to four years in prison if convicted of the most serious crimes.
Mizzi, a 35-year veteran of New York’s Port Authority, was suspended from her role as assistant duty supervisor at JFK in June. Prosecutors allege she started the scheme back in 2014.
“Today’s indictment will serve notice to all Port Authority employees that the agency will not tolerate violations of the public trust or any other corrupt acts,” Port Authority inspector general Michael Nestor was quoted as saying.
Qatar’s mission to the UN didn’t immediately comment.
Mizzi is accused of allowing numerous Qatari planes to stay overnight, sometimes for days on end, at the airport.
In return for this special treatment, she received gifts from Jourieh that were sometimes personally delivered to her by representatives of the countries she allowed to bypass the rules on airport property.
The other countries involved were not identified.
New York’s Port Authority has a strict ban on payments, gifts, meals or transportation from anyone doing business or likely to do business with the agency.