A former Russian diplomat who once chaired the powerful United Nations budget oversight committee was convicted Wednesday of conspiring with a UN procurement officer to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign companies seeking UN contracts. Vladimir Kuznetsov, 49, was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering by a jury in US District Court in Manhattan after less than a day of deliberations. Kuznetsov was charged in 2005 after an internal UN investigation of Alexander Yakovlev, a Russian who worked in the UN procurement office. Yakovlev pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to soliciting a bribe, wire fraud and money laundering. As part of a cooperation deal, Yakovlev had admitted accepting nearly $1 million (â‚¬760,000) in bribes from UN contractors. He testified against Kuznetsov.