Compass Group has denied speculation that links between the buyer of its SSP travel concession business and the wife of UN secretary-general Kofi Annan will affect the investigation into procurement irregularities by the caterer at the UN.
Nane Annan is niece of deceased Raoul Wallenberg, a member of the Swedish family whose EQT investment vehicle bought SSP for £1.2b in April.
A Compass spokesman said there was no conflict of interest. "The issues between Compass and the UN are a matter of public record. EQT was recommended as the buyer of SSP by Citigroup," he said. "They are two entirely separate matters."
The UN also played down suggestions that the enquiry into how Compass won food and water deals in nine countries, including Sudan, Lebanon and Syria, would be compromised.
A spokesman for the secretary-general said: "Mrs Annan receives no money from and has no financial link to EQT. It's wrong to imply that there is even a perceived conflict of interest. The Wallenbergs are a huge family."