Belgian inquiry over oil-for-food scandal

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 February 2006, BRUSSELS — The federal public prosecution office is investigating Belgian firms accused of paying bribes to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as part of the United Nations' oil-for-food programme.

20 February 2006

BRUSSELS — The federal public prosecution office is investigating Belgian firms accused of paying bribes to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as part of the United Nations' oil-for-food programme.

Prosecution spokeswoman Lieve Pellens identified some of the firms as Janssen Pharmaceutica, Atlas Copco Airpower and Pauwels International.

The UN published last October its final report on the corruption in the oil-for-food programme, which ran from 1996 to 2003.

Some 2,000 firms are alleged to have paid bribes to the Iraqi regime in order to buy oil or supply humanitarian goods.

About 30 Belgian firms were accused of wrongdoing in the UN report and — on its own initiative — the federal prosecution office is now investigating how deep the companies were implicated in the scandal.
 
The investigation could result in criminal proceedings against various firms, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Monday.
 
The chief of the UN investigation committee, Paul Volcker, said last October that not every firm named in the report consciously paid kickbacks to the Iraq dictatorship.

[opyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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