Russia wants public probe on oil-for-food scandal

7th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

MOSCOW, Oct 7 (AFP) - The United Nations should make public conclusions from its probe on corruption in the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq, Russia said Thursday in response to a US report alleging that Moscow officials received bribes from Saddam Hussein's government.

MOSCOW, Oct 7 (AFP) - The United Nations should make public conclusions from its probe on corruption in the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq, Russia said Thursday in response to a US report alleging that Moscow officials received bribes from Saddam Hussein's government.  

"After several countries expressed concern over corruption in the oil-for-food programme, the UN Security Council decided to create a special commission to investigate the matter," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told AFP.  

"Russia supported that decision," he said. "Like other countries, we are expecting (the commission's) conclusions to be based on facts."  

"Without the commission's conclusions, it is difficult to comment" on the accusations in the US report, he said.  

In a report made public Thursday, a US weapons inspector said Saddam's government had issued millions of dollars in lucrative oil export vouchers to leading French, Russian and other foreign politicians as part of a concerted effort to win their assistance in lifting UN sanctions against Iraq.  

Saddam, the ousted Iraqi leader, was captured by US forces north of Baghdad last December.  

The Iraqi intelligence service paid particular attention to influential personalities in France and Russia because the two countries hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council, said the report prepared by chief US weapons inspector Charles Duelfer, who has perused tonnes of secret Iraqi documents seized in the wake of the US-led invasion of the country.  

Baghdad had awarded lucrative oil contracts to nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Russian Communist Party, which at the time controlled the largest faction in parliament, and the foreign ministry, the report said.  

Baghdad also showered with money the well-connected Russian oil and gas oligarchy, including Gazprom, LUKoil, Yukos and other companies, the report said, and worked to establish close ties with Russian intelligence, the former employer of President Vladimir Putin.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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