Probe widens into Iraq oil-for-food scandal

22nd September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 21 (AFP) - A French businessman has been placed under judicial investigation as part of a probe into alleged corruption in the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq, a source close to the case said Wednesday.

PARIS, Sept 21 (AFP) - A French businessman has been placed under judicial investigation as part of a probe into alleged corruption in the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq, a source close to the case said Wednesday.

Claude Kaspereit was taken into police custody on Monday on suspicion of "active corruption of a foreign civil servant" and corruption to the detriment of his company, European Oil Trading International, said the source who wished to remain anonymous.

He is one of 11 French nationals suspected of having illegally benefited from massive kickbacks from the regime of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein between 1996 and 2002.

Police are questioning him over allegations he received 8.5 million barrels of oil from the Saddam regime between 2000 and 2003 via an intermidiary company.

Le Monde newspaper has reported that Kaspereit profited to the extent of 8.5 million dollars from the illegal transactions, made under the 100-billion-dollar oil-for-food programme.

The humanitarian programme -- which ran from 1996 to 2003 when US-led forces invaded Iraq -- allowed Saddam to use oil revenues to buy humanitiarian goods the country lacked due to UN sanctions.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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