Sunday, February 06, 2005

Corrupt Oil Buyers Sought in Oil for Food Scandal

From the Seattle Post Intellegencer

Buyers of Iraq U.N. oil may be implicated
GENEVA -- Companies that bought Iraqi oil from traders who allegedly spent billions of dollars to bribe Saddam Hussein for contracts under the U.N. oil-for-food program now could be implicated in the vast web of corruption uncovered in the investigation by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, a Swiss criminal lawyer told The Associated Press on Sunday.

"If the final buyer is aware of what is going on, they were in the role of guarantor, knowing that they were involved in paying the surcharge," Pieth said. "There is a risk to the end buyer."

Regarding the employment of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son by the Swiss firm Cotecna Inspection SA, Pieth said the only issue was whether there had been a "conflict of interest."

Cotecna had a U.N. contract to certify deals for humanitarian supplies imported by Iraq under the oil-for-food program. The company is under investigation in connection with suspected corruption.

Annan's son Kojo worked for Cotecna until 1998 and received $30,000 a year for over five years after that from the Geneva-based company. The United Nations hired the company on Dec. 31, 1998 to certify that food, medicine and other goods entering Iraq corresponded to a list of goods approved for import under the oil-for-food rules.
prying1 wonders if the truth will come out and if the guilty will be brought to justice. - I figure there will be a few small fry indicted and the big fish will swim away.