Skip to comments.Switzerland probes four in oil-for-food
Posted on 09/07/2005 8:44:41 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BERN, Switzerland (AP) - Four people are being investigated by Switzerland for illegal activity in the former U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, authorities said Wednesday.
The four - all of non-Swiss citizenship - are suspected of money laundering and bribery in connection with the U.N. program and have had their assets in Switzerland frozen, said Andrea Sadecky, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office.
Sadecky declined to reveal the identities of the suspects, but told The Associated Press that more investigations were under way and authorities in Geneva also have started a probe of their own. She declined to say how much money in Swiss banks has been frozen.
The United Nations' oil-for-food program was the world body's largest humanitarian aid operation and ran from 1996 to 2003. It was designed to allow the former Iraqi government to sell limited amounts of oil in exchange for humanitarian goods as an exemption from sanctions put in place in 1991 after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Switzerland launched its inquiry earlier this year, after several reports by the country's Money Laundering Reporting Office indicated that "a considerable flow of money" stored in Switzerland had been used for illegal purposes connected to the oil-for-food program.
The Swiss probe is linked to international investigations, which include an independent probe headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
According to a list compiled by Volcker's investigation, companies based in Switzerland brokered more Iraqi oil under the program than those from any other country except France and Russia.
They'll find a secret, numbered account owned by Kofi's son and it will have only $800 in it.