Former aide says Pasqua never received Iraqi oil

20th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 20 (AFP) - Former French interior minister Charles Pasqua never received any oil allocations from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq under the UN oil-for-food programme, a former aide to the French politician said Friday.

PARIS, May 20 (AFP) - Former French interior minister Charles Pasqua never received any oil allocations from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq under the UN oil-for-food programme, a former aide to the French politician said Friday.  

"To my knowledge, Charles Pasqua never got anything," said Bernard Guillet, who is under formal investigation in France in connection with the scandal-plagued UN scheme.  

Last week, a US Senate panel accused Pasqua, along with the controversial British lawmaker George Galloway, of taking massive oil allocations as kickbacks in the 1990s from Saddam's regime under the UN oil-for-food programme.  

Both men have denied the allegations. Galloway travelled to Washington this week to confront his accusers, telling the US Senate panel that their claims against him were "utterly unsubstantiated and false".  

On Wednesday, Le Monde newspaper quoted Guillet as telling a French magistrate that Iraq had tried to compensate Pasqua with millions of barrels of oil for his helpful attitude toward Baghdad.  

Guillet reportedly said former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz had told him "that Iraq wanted to thank Pasqua for the role he played in 1993 when he organized the first visit for a high-level official in France".  

Aziz then allegedly told Guillet that Saddam wanted to thank Pasqua with oil allocations, Le Monde reported.  

Guillet confirmed that account on Friday, but said he had subsequently told Aziz that "it was not conceivable, as it was impossible for a French politician to accept".  

Pasqua's former aide said the documents on which the US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations based its report - Iraqi oil ministry documents and the testimony of senior officials in Saddam's regime - were suspect, "given how they were obtained".  

Guillet has denied ever receiving any oil allocations himself, and contested charges that he had "served as an intermediary so that Charles Pasqua could receive such allocations".  

But he did admit to French magistrate Philippe Courroye that he had met with Iraqi officials tasked with the commercialization of Iraqi oil.  

Guillet spoke to reporters as he appeared in court in connection with an ongoing corruption investigation into kickbacks paid out to boost the position of large French companies, notably in Iraq.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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