Iraq to file US lawsuits over oil-for-food: Minister

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 22:38

Baghdad: Iraq will file lawsuits in the
United States against foreign firms for alleged fraud in a UN
oil-for-food scheme under Saddam Hussein`s regime, the
country`s commerce minister said on Tuesday.

"We have asked an American lawyer to prosecute the
companies that violated the law regarding the oil-for-food
programme," Safaldin al-Safi said, but did not give any
further details.

French newspaper Liberation said today that the Iraqi
government has demanded a total of USD 10 billion in
compensation from 93 companies for alleged violations of the
terms of the programme.

According to the newspaper, among the companies are
French vehicle manufacturer Renault and banking giant BNP
Paribas.

Liberation said that BNP Paribas rejected the
allegations.

The UN oil-for-food programme ran from 1996 until 2003,
when US-led forces invaded Iraq.

It allowed Baghdad to sell limited amounts of oil to
fund UN-supervised imports of humanitarian goods which the
country lacked because of tight UN sanctions imposed after
Iraq`s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 22:38

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