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Total Recall
WSJ / OpinionJournal.com ^ | March 29, 2007 | Editorial

Posted on 03/29/2007 4:54:16 AM PDT by CutePuppy

Total Recall
A French oil giant's deals with a rogue regime--this time in Iran.

Don't stop us if you've heard this one: French oil giant Total SA is being investigated for illicit dealings with a rogue regime in the Middle East. This time it's Iran, but maybe you recall its experience with another dictator and something called Oil for Food. A French judge is investigating bribes that Total executives allegedly paid Iranian officials to secure business in the Islamic Republic. Last week, the judge issued preliminary charges of abuse of company funds and corruption of foreign agents against Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie. The company and Mr. de Margerie deny any wrongdoing, but the Total experience is all too typical of the way European firms cut deals with dictators while their own governments provide political cover.

Meanwhile, the same French prosecutor continues to investigate Total for alleged kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein in return for Iraqi oil. In his report on Oil for Food corruption, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker found that Total, through intermediaries, had purchased some of the 11 million barrels of oil that former Iraqi officials claim was allocated to French Senator Charles Pasqua in thanks for his support of Saddam's Iraq. Total and Mr. Pasqua also deny any wrongdoing.

However the probes play out, Total's business with Tehran is probably a violation of the U.S. 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. The Clinton Administration thought so as far back as early 1998, when crude oil futures were selling for a quarter of the current price, and Tehran was desperate for cash to finance Hezbollah and, as we later learned, its nuclear program.

...

But after French carping and trade threats by the European Union, President Clinton waived sanctions on Total, Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas ...

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: chirac; iran; iraq; mitterand; off; saddam; total; totaltotalfinaelf
Yes, sanctions were absolutely going to work with Iraq, and we need to "talk" with Iran, not be so belligerent and unilateral...
1 posted on 03/29/2007 4:54:18 AM PDT by CutePuppy
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To: Eva

TOTAL ping.


2 posted on 03/29/2007 4:55:14 AM PDT by CutePuppy (If you don't ask the right questions you may not get the right answers)
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To: CutePuppy
There's some debate in France about why prosecutors are suddenly showing so much interest in what is by now a 10-year-old case. Perhaps allies of Jacques Chirac have less political cover as his presidency winds down, or maybe big companies are no longer seen as untouchable on the Continent after a series of corporate scandals. Or it could be that investigative judge Philippe Courroye is anxious to close out his current docket before his scheduled transfer to another court. Whatever the reason, it's good to see someone in Paris take corrupt dealings with dictators seriously.

In Iraq 10 years ago, Total and its political protectors canoodled with Saddam and propped him up until the U.S. decided it had no choice but to act against him. Europe shouldn't make the same mistake in Iran.

I believe this is approximately what we speculated, last week. It seems as though Europe is finding out the hard way that dealing with terrorist regimes requires more than talk.

3 posted on 03/29/2007 8:47:56 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva
I think this is exactly what we speculated on last week :-) Good to know we "make friends and influence people" in the media. :-)
4 posted on 03/29/2007 9:59:23 AM PDT by CutePuppy (If you don't ask the right questions you may not get the right answers)
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