Oil-for-food Charges Baseless, Total Says

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PARIS, Aug. 4 (UPI) — U.N. investigations into the oil-for-food program determined there was no corruption regarding Total’s activity in Iraq, the company said.

An independent U.N. committee led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker found in 2005 that thousands of companies were involved in illegal activity tied to the oil-for-food program for Iraq.

The program allowed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sell oil to purchase food and other humanitarian aid while the country was under international sanction. The program ended after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

French prosecutors referred Total Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie to courts for his alleged ties to the scandal though the company denied any wrongdoing.

“The Volcker Report, issued by the independent inquiry committee into the U.N. oil-for-food program, found that no corruption had occurred,” the company was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

A report this week in the Financial Times said French prosecutors were moving forward with the case despite a 2009 decision to dismiss the charges.

Total said it was confident the charges against it would be dismissed in the latest case.

The case is expected to appear before the courts as early as next year.

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