US senate 'to cite Pasqua in oil-for-food scam'

8th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 8 (AFP) - The US Senate subcommittee looking into irregularities in the UN run oil-for-food programme in Saddam Hussein's Iraq is ready to make public the names of foreigners they believe obtained illegal oil contracts, Time magazine reported Sunday.

WASHINGTON, May 8 (AFP) - The US Senate subcommittee looking into irregularities in the UN run oil-for-food programme in Saddam Hussein's Iraq is ready to make public the names of foreigners they believe obtained illegal oil contracts, Time magazine reported Sunday.  

US officials have notified several embassies of the pending announcement, and the White House has asked the panel to at least refrain from releasing the Russian names until President George W. Bush finishes his visit to Moscow, Time reports.  

Bush, who left Washington early Friday on a five-day trip to Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia and Georgia, is to participate in Moscow on Monday in 60th anniversary commemorations of the end of World War II.  

The subcommittee is expected to begin releasing details this week of oil contracts with Charles Pasqua, a former French interior minister and onetime close associate of French President Jacques Chirac, according to the magazine.  

Pasqua has denied any wrongdoing.  

Others individuals, which Time does not name, include a former senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a right-wing Russian politician, and a member of British Parliament.  

The oil-for-food programme has been tainted by charges that millions of dollars in kickbacks were funnelled to Saddam's regime with money intended for humanitarian relief.  

The programme was intended to allow UN-supervised sales of Iraqi oil to buy medicine and other essential supplies to alleviate the impact of international sanctions.  

Allegations of wrongdoing in the USD 64 billion programmeme, which was in operation between 1996 and 2003, have led to repeated calls in the US congress for the resignation of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

© AFP

Subject: French News

 

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