Monday, February 07, 2005

Investigation Progress: U.N. Oil-For-Food Scandal

Benon Sevan & Joseph Stephanides were suspended WITH PAY (common procedure so as not to "prejudge the outcome of the investigation"). Wednesday, they will receive a letter listing the charges against them & have two weeks to respond. Sevan is the former head of the program & Stephanides helped set up the program in 1996.

One accusation on Sevan is for sending $1.5 million of an oil transaction to Boutros Boutros-Ghali's cousin.

Stephanides faces one accusation of aiding a British U.N. ambassador to improperly steer a major contract to a British company.

Volcker is continuing his probe until June. Under the program, Iraq was allowed to sell oil to buyers of its choosing and contract for food and other necessities to ease hardships caused by U.N. sanctions.
But he said the Iraqi government earned more than $8.5 billion outside the oil-for-food program, mainly through illegal oil trade to Jordan, Syria and Turkey and others, which was known to members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States.

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