Sunday, October 03, 2004


Saddam Bought UN Allies With Oil

From the London Times:

A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it.

The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action.


The other main allegations included in the report are that:

  • Benon Sevan, director of the UN oil-for-food programme, received 9.3m barrels of oil from the regime which he is estimated to have sold for a profit of £670,000. Sevan has always denied any improper conduct.
  • A former senior aide to Putin allegedly organised the sale of almost 4m barrels of oil at a profit of more than £330,000. At the time the oil was sold, Russia was blocking the UN from supporting America’s demands to attack Iraq. According to the report, the aide, who worked in the presidential office, received 3.9m barrels of oil between May and December 2002.
  • In the two months during the run-up to the war, the Iraqi regime illegally sold about £30m of oil to a Jordanian-based company with the money deposited in a Jordanian bank account established by the regime. This is suspected to have been an attempt to secure safe passage for Saddam’s family in the event of war.
  • A French oil company teamed up with the regime to bribe a UN-appointed inspector monitoring exports of Iraqi oil. The inspector, a Portuguese national working for Saybolt, a Dutch firm, was paid a total of £58,000 in cash to forge export documents.

    The French firm is linked to a close associate of Jacques Chirac, the country’s president. A spokesman for Saybolt said it would be investigating the allegations.

  • Saddam imposed a surcharge of between 10 cents and 50 cents (5p to 27p) for every barrel of oil allocated by his regime between September 2000 and the end of 2002.

    The money raised from this illegal surcharge was deposited in bank accounts in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Iraqi embassies, including those in Moscow, Athens, Cairo, Rome, Vienna and Geneva, collected the money.

    In total, 175 firms and individuals allegedly paid bribes to secure oil from the regime.

  • When money talks, the truth walks among people who are supposed to be our allies.

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