Pasqua aide suspected of UN oil-for-food scam

29th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - An aide to former French interior minister Charles Pasqua was Thursday placed under judicial investigation as part of a corruption probe connected with the UN's oil-for-food programme for Iraq, judicial sources said.

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - An aide to former French interior minister Charles Pasqua was Thursday placed under judicial investigation as part of a corruption probe connected with the UN's oil-for-food programme for Iraq, judicial sources said.  

Bernard Guillet was held for questioning beginning Tuesday as part of a French investigation into suspected secret kickbacks made between 1996 and 2001 to favour French companies including oil giant Total.  

He was placed under judicial investigation - a step short of full charges - Wednesday for illegal possession of company property and influence peddling, the sources said.  

Late Thursday, he was to appear before a judge who was to rule on a prosecution request that the suspect be placed under preventive detention.  

Guillet is suspected of having received commissions from a middleman who brokered the resale of Iraqi oil.  

Pasqua, who served as interior minister from 1993 to 1995, currently enjoys immunity from prosecution as a lawmaker in the French senate.  

A probe commissioned by the United Nations into the 64-billion-dollar programme, which oversaw oil sales by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein between 1996 and 2003, has so far revealed a trail of wrongdoing.  

Guillet and Pasqua were both named last year by the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada as having benefited from the oil contracts, which they both denied.  

Pasqua was also accused last year by Charles Duelfer, the head of the US-led Iraq Survey Group that searched the country for weapons of mass destruction, of having received bribes from Iraq.  

Guillet has been under judicial investigation regarding two other corruption cases but no charges have yet been filed.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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