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Iraq to Probe Alleged Saddam Oil Bribes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SLVRBK, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. SLVRBK

    SLVRBK Moderator Staff A/V Subscriber

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    Iraq to Probe Alleged Saddam Oil Bribes

    Jan 27, 9:01 AM (ET)

    By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq plans to investigate allegations that dozens of officials and businessmen worldwide illegally received oil in exchange for supporting former leader Saddam Hussein, officials said Tuesday.

    Their statements came after al-Mada, an independent Baghdad newspaper, published a list it said was based on oil ministry documents showing 46 individuals, companies and organizations from inside and outside Iraq who were given millions of barrels of oil.

    "I think the list is true. I will demand an investigation. These people must be prosecuted," Naseer Chaderji, a Governing Council member, told Reuters.

    The list includes members of Arab ruling families, religious organizations, politicians and political parties from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria, France and other countries.

    Organizations named include the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Communist Party, India's Congress Party and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.


    Assem Jihad, an oil ministry spokesman, said thousands of documents which were looted from the State Oil Marketing Organization after Baghdad fell to U.S. forces on April 9 may prove that Saddam used bribery to gain support.

    "Anyone involved in stealing Iraqi wealth will be prosecuted," Jihad said.

    Oil ministry officials say they have stopped selling oil to companies that may have acted as fronts to supporters of the toppled leader.

    Entifadh Qnbar, a spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress, a secular party headed by former exile Ahmad Chalabi, said even Arab oligarchs from oil producing countries received oil from Saddam.

    "These people took bribes. Sadly, the Iraqi people paid the price," Anbar said.

    Despite U.N. sanctions, Iraq was allowed to sell oil from 1996-2003 under an agreement with the United Nations stipulating that proceeds from the oil sales be used to buy food, medicine and basic supplies.

    But bankers say some international companies selling goods to Iraq may have paid commissions to Iraqi officials that were deposited in Arab banks in exchange for winning contracts under the oil for food deal.

    Oil traders say Iraq also smuggled oil through southern ports not monitored by the United Nations and through a pipeline running to Syria.

    Damascus says the pipeline was only operating for testing purposes.

    "Saddam had no problem giving oil to whoever he wanted," said one Iraqi trader who did business with the former government.
     
  2. SLVRBK

    SLVRBK Moderator Staff A/V Subscriber

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    And from UPI

    Iraqi govt. papers: Saddam bribed Chirac


    BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.

    "I think the list is true," Naseer Chaderji, a governing council member, said. "I will demand an investigation. These people must be prosecuted."

    Such evidence would undermine the French position before the war when President Jacques Chirac sought to couch his opposition to the invasion on a moral high ground.

    A senior Bush administration official said Washington was aware of the reports but refused further comment.

    French diplomats have dismissed any suggestion their foreign policy was influenced by payments from Saddam, but some European diplomats have long suspected France's steadfast opposition to the war was less moral than monetary.

    "Oil runs thicker than blood," is how one former ambassador put his suspicions about the French motives for opposing action against Saddam.

    Al-Mada's list cites a total of 46 individuals, companies and organizations inside and outside Iraq as receiving Saddam's oil bribes, including officials in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria and France, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Communist Party, India's Congress Party and the Palestine Liberation Organization.




    Copyright 2004 by United Press International.
    All rights reserved.
     

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