Skip to comments.France's Saddam deals revealed
Posted on 10/09/2004 9:10:34 PM PDT by Perdogg
Dramatic new details of France's secret dealings with Saddam Hussein's regime have emerged as part of a fresh corruption investigation into alleged illicit oil deals.
Three executives of France's largest oil corporation have been charged in Paris over claims that they funnelled millions of dollars through a Swiss company in order to bribe officials to gain oil deals in Iraq and Russia.
The disclosure will embarrass President Jacques Chirac as it follows on from claims last week by the Iraq Survey Group that Saddam indirectly paid French politicians and individuals to gain support for lifting UN sanctions and influencing French policy. The ISG's claims were dismissed by Chirac as politically motivated.
In the Nineties, French oil companies Total and Elf-Aquitaine won the rights to develop the $3.4 billion Bin Umar project and the vast Majnoon field in southern Iraq. Total, which acquired Elf, had been unable to exploit these fields while the UN trade embargo against Iraq was still in place. US hawks have accused France of opposing the Iraq war in order to protect its vast oil interests in the country. The three Total executives, arrested after raids on the firm's French headquarters on 29 September, have all been charged with complicity in the improper use of corporate funds.
French investigating magistrate Philippe Courroye, who has been probing these payments since 2002, is examining the movements of funds between a Total subsidiary in Bermuda and a Swiss company, Teliac SA. The Swiss firm is alleged to have served as an intermediary for some $20 million in payments by the oil group into offshore accounts in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands between 1996 and 2001. Courroye has not given any details of what oil deals the alleged bribes were linked to. Total's former head of operations, Jean-Michel Tournier, is alleged to have told the French authorities the company used the Geneva-based firm to pay bribes to 'certain beneficiaries' in return for gaining access to reserves in Iraq and Russia.
Total is known to have carried out a sustained lobbying campaign with the Saddam regime with a view to putting itself in prime position to gain from any lifting of UN sanctions. Total confirmed that certain past and present employees had been questioned but said this had been part of an investigation into money laundering which was not aimed against Total itself.
Among the alleged beneficiaries of the money paid out by Teliac is a Lebanese lawyer close to Saddam's former deputy, Tariq Aziz. The lawyer has strong connections with Charles Pasqua, the former FrenchInterior Minister who was named last week in the Iraq Survey Group as an alleged beneficiary of the UN's oil-for-food programme which Saddam used to pay for favours.
Patrick Maugein, whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac, is also accused of receiving oil through a Dutch-registered company. The report claims a 1992 Iraqi intelligence service report said Iraq had paid the French Socialist party $1m in 1988.
This weekend it emerged that US oil companies and three American businessmen also benefited from the UN oil-for-food programme. These included Chevron, Mobil, Texaco and Bay Oil. The fact that these companies and individuals received oil from Iraq does not mean they did anything illegal if the individuals and companies received appropriate UN authorisation.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited
Elf is a major player in bribing all kinds of European officials. A political party from Germany got caught with a illegal contribution from Elf. Alot of major French politicans count on Elf money as part of their party operating budget.
Get those French swine. I hope Chirac has to resign over this. I would laugh so hard. We now know why you didn't want this war because your sweetheart deal would have come to an end.
French Terrorist Michel Bernier congratulates serial murderer and terrorist Arafat
on his successful rocket murder of a 3 year old child and another innocent Jew
on behalf of France and the EU which have also encouraged Jewish murders throughout France.
=========== French missiles given to Iraq to be USED Against US and Coalition Heroes =========
French missiles found by the Poles, and to protect France, blown up.
Froggies said they did not say "2003". LOL. Decide for yourself.
France (failing) "protecting" its people.
If France was taking money from Iraq under the table, how could Kerry ever have gotten French approval for a military action as Kerry is now constantly claiming? It doesn't add up.
Will this be swept under the rug, ala Sandy Berger?
Jacques Chirac. That crook has been the President of France since 1995, Don't they have term limits?
HA! If this is what is being reported in a left wing paper, just imagine what the whole truth is. Someone get the popcorn, this is going to be interesting.