Iraq's Oil-for-Food Scandal

Saddam's Alleged Payoff to UN Officials before the Iraq War

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saddam and kofi annan

After the 1991 Gulf War, the U.N. imposed economic sanctions on Saddam's regime. Concerned that the sanctions were hurting the people of Iraq, in 1996 the Security Council established the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program (OFP). Under strict U.N. control, Iraq would be allowed to export oil and import food and humanitarian supplies.

Over time, the program grew. Over seven years, $65 billion worth of oil was sold through the program and $38 billion of goods was imported into Saddam-controlled Iraq. Inspectors, monitors, and local bureaucrats oversaw oil sales, imports, and distribution of the humanitarian aid. The other $27 billion went to Kuwaiti war reparations, to the UN for administrative costs, and to Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Saddam evaded and abused the sanctions program as much as possible. He smuggled oil out of Iraq. He demanded kickbacks from both sides of the OFP: purchasers of oil and suppliers of goods. The GAO estimates that he earned $10 billion from smuggling ($5.7Bn) and kickbacks ($4.4Bn).

For years before the 2003 Iraq War, much of this was known, and ignored by the U.N. and the U.S. Indeed, there was constant global pressure to abandon or ease the sanctions; various Security Council Resolutions increased the amount of oil that could be sold and broadened the list of goods that could be imported. In 2001, the OFP did tighten up the oil pricing policy, and thus reduced the margin on the kickbacks required from oil purchasers.

Various U.S. agencies reported on the graft and kickbacks throughout 2002 and 2003, with modest attention. The lid blew off the OFP scandal on January 30, 2004, with the publication in Al-Mada, a Baghdad newspaper, of a list of 270 alleged recipients of oil allocations from Saddam. Reportedly the recipients of these vouchers had the right to buy Iraqi oil and could then re-sell it at a tidy profit. The names included oil companies, small trading companies, politicians (many of them vocally pro-Saddam), and at least one U.N. official, Benon Sevan, the head of OFP. (By my estimate, the published list of oil vouchers, in total, was worth about $800 million, one part of the puzzle, NOT the whole thing.)

Whether the list is fraudulent or legitimate, since February, pressure has built for investigations. The UN, the U.S. Congress, and Iraq's Governing Council have all started investigations

Why is the OFP Scandal Important?
It is not just about which bureaucrat had his hand in the till. Nor is it just about which company slipped a dictator a few (or many) bucks.

It is about the UN and its legitimacy. During the run-up to the Iraq war, George Bush's opponents accused him of many misdeeds. Chief among them was "going to war without the UN." But if, the UN was, in fact, Saddam's enabler, if the UN Secretariat was effectively on Saddam's payroll, if important people in major antiwar countries were likewise beholden to the Iraqi regime, then that casts a wholly different light on "unilateralism."

Claudia Rosette of the Wall Streat Journal did a lot of investigative reporting on the Oil-for-Food (OFF) Scandal.

And that is precisely why so many people, on both sides of the global debate, weigh in strongly on the Oil-for-Food scandal.

The List of 270 Recipients of OFF Money

Zeyad, at Healing Iraq translated the names of the 270 recipients from Arabic. So far BBC, NY Times, LE Monde, al Jazeerah, etc. have not reported this. (Update: Slings and Arrows also has translated list, from MEMRI.)

Zeyad "dug up the list of companies, politicians, and organizations from 51 countries that had received bribes in oil from the former regime [Saddam] in return for their 'services' in defending the regime and opposing the US campaign against him."


1-Abdul Majid Al-Attar/ 6 million (barrels of oil, at $25 per)
2-Abdul Kadir bin Musa/ 6 million


1-Hans Kugler/ 3 million
2-Arabian Austrian Association/ 1 million


1-Kadhim Al-Darazi Institute/ 2 million
2-Ali Al-Muslim institute/ 3 million
3-Concrete Contracting Co./ 2 million


1-Mawlana Abdul Mannan/ 43.2 million


1-Liberal party/ 6 million
2-Belarussian Communist party/ 7 tons
3-Belminal Co./ 14.2 million
4-Belfarm/ 4 million
5-Presidential office secretary/ 6 million
6-Lada Co./ 2 million


1- Fuad Sarhan/ 10 million
2- 8th of October Movement / 4.5 million


1- George Galloway / Fawaz Rzeiqat / 19 million
2- Mujahiden-e Khalq / 36.5 million


1- Bulgarian Socialist party/ 12 million
2-Arak Bul/ 2 million


1- Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of the Calgary-based Oilexco company / 9.6 million


1-Chad foreign minister/ 3 million


1-Mr. Juan/ 39.1 million
2-NoresCo/ 17.5 million
3-Zing Rong/ 13 million
4-Byorg/ 13.5 million
5-South Hulcan/ 1 million


1-Mohammad Al-Hawni/ 17 million
2-Nefta Petrolium/ 13.2 million
3-Continental/ 3 million


1-Income Co. (Mohammad Shtat)/ 14 million
2-Abdul Adhim Munaf/ 6 million
3-Khalid Gamal Abdul Nasser/ 16.5 million
4-Imad AL-Jalda/ 14 million
5-Mohammad Salah/ 7 million
6-Mohammad Hilmi/ 4.5 million
7-United Arabian Co./ 6 million
8-Nile and Euphrates Co./ 3 million
9-Mahmud Magdi Al-M'asrawi/ 7 million
10-Al-Hami Bashindi Institution/ 2 million
11-Al-Multaqa Intl. institute/ 2 million


1-Adax/ 8.3 million
2-Trafigura (Patrick Maugein)/ 25 million
3-Michelle Gremard/ 1 million
4-French Arab Friendship Association/ 15.1 million
5-Ayx/ 47.2 million
6- Charles Pasqua, former French Interior Minister/ 12 million
7-Elias Al-Gharzali/ 14.6 million
8-ALTC (Claude Caspert)/ 4 million
9- Jean-Bernard Merimee, French diplomat, their UN representative, and former president of UN Security Council/ 3 million
10- Jean-Bernard Merimee/ 8 million
11-De Souza/ 11 million


1-Hungarian interest party/ 4.7 million


1-Biham sing/ 5.5 million
2-Indian Congress party/ 4 million


1- President Sukarnoputri / 2 million
2-Hawa Atlantic / 2 million
3-Mukarram Hakim/ 3 million
4-Mekawati/ 8 million
5-Mohammad Amin Rais/ 4 million
6-Natona Oil/ 2 million


1- Riyadh Al-Tahir / 11 million
2-Avro Eastern/ 2 million


1- Roberto Formigoni, President of Lombardy / 24.5 million
2-Silvatori Nicotra/ 20 million
3-Mr. Felluni/ 6.5 million
4- Father Jean-Marie Benjamin / 4.5 million
5-West Petrol/ 2 tons
6-Huterlik/ 2 tons
7-ABS/ 1 ton
8-Italian Petro Union/ 1 million


1-Layth Shbeilat/ 15.5 million
2-Fakhri Qa'war/ 6 million
3-Grand Resources/ 2 million
4-Al-Rashid Al-Alamiya (Ahmad Al-Bashir)/ 9 million
5-Fawaz Rzeiqat/ 6 million
6-Salim Al-Na'as/ 3 million
7-Zeyad al-Raghib/ 7 million
8-Mashhur Haditha/ 4 million
9-Shakir bin Zaid/ 6.5 million
10-Mohmmad Salih Al-Hurani/ 4 million
11-Tujan Faisal/ 3 million
12-Jordanian Energy Ministry/ 5 million
13-Zeyad Yaghmur/ 2 million
14-Wamidh Hassan/ 1 million


1-Mohammad Othman Sa'id/ 10.5 million


1-(company removed from list)/ 2 million
2-Fadi Intl./ 2 million
3-Haitham Saidani/ 2 million
4-Plant Petrolium/ 1 million
5-George Terchainan/ 7 million
6-Son to President Amil Lahud/ 4.5 million
7-Ali Tu'ma/ 1 million
8-Al-Hilal Co. (Adnan Al-Janabi)/ 1 million
9-Intl. Trade and Investment Co./ 3 million
10-Faisal Darniqa/ 3 million
11-Fim Oil/ 1 million
12-Najah Wakim/ 3 million
13-Osama Ma'ruf/ 3 million
14-Zuhair al-Khatib/ 3.5 million


1-Shukri Ghanim/ 1 million


1-Fayiq Ahmad Sharif/ 12.5 million
2-Betmal Co./ 4 million
3-Tade pepper/ 4 million
4-Mastik/Fayiq Ahmad Sharif/ 57 million
5-Hawala/ 7 million


1-Abdullah Al-Silawi/ 7.2 million
2-Nadhil Al-Hashimi/ 5.7 million
3-Mohammad Al-Basri/ 4.5 million


1-Maynamar Forests minister/ 5 million


1-Saybolt/ 3 million


1-Hayson/ 7.2 million
2-Zaz Co./ 7.5 million
3-AAG Co. (Nigerian ambassador)/ 1 million
4-Kambak/ 4 million


1-Al-Shanfari group/ 5 million


1-Oil & Gas group/ 10 tons
2-Abu Abdul Rahman/ 11.5 tons
3-Mr. Azzaz/ 1 ton


1-Abu Al-Abbas/ 11.5 million
2-Abdullah Al-Hurani/ 8 million
3-Wafa Tawfiq Sayigh/ 3.5 million
4-PLO/ 4 million
5-PFLP/ 5 million
6-PLO (political directorate)/ 5 million


1-Mr. Siphan/ 11.5 million


1-Phillipines producers group/ 3 million


1-Hamad bin Ali Al-Thani/ 14 million
2-Al-Dulaymi group/ 4 million
3-Gulf Petrolium/ 2 million
4-Petrolina Oil/ 2 million
5-Oil well maintenance/ 2 million


1-Yelf Aderlink/ 1 million
2-Romanian Labour party/ 5.5 million


(A 1,366 billion barrels grant to the Russian Federation)

1- ZarubezhNeft (Russian Foreign Economic Association, RFEA) / 174.5 million
2- Rosneft Ambix - Azakov (Russian presidential office)/ 86.9 million (2 million of them to Russian ambassador in Baghdad)
3-Russian Communist Party companies/ 137 million
4-Amercom (Unity party/Emergency ministry)/ 57 million
5-Machino Import Co./ 83.5 million
6-Alpha Eco (Russian Foreign department)/ 128.8 million
7-Yetumen (Russian Foreign department)/ 30.1 million
8-Slav Naft (Gutsriev)/ 25.5 million
9-Zan Gas Co./ 49.1 million
10-Rus Naft Co./ 35.5 million
11-Gasben Invest Co. -Kalmika/ 8.5 million
12-KalmNaft Gas Co. -Kalmika/ 7.5 million
13-Gas Brum Co./ 26 million
14-Tat Naft -Tatarstan/ 64.5 million
15-Pash Naft Co./ 12 million
16- LukOil Co./ 63 million
17-Surgot Naft Gaz Co./ 4 million
18-Siberia Oil and Gas Co./ 1 million
19-Nafta Moscow Co./ 25.1 million
20-OnaCo/ 22.2 million
21-SidanCo/ 21.2 million
22-SebNaft Co./ 8.1 million
23-Trans Naft Co./ 9 million
24-Yukus Co./ 2 million
25-Democratic Liberal party companies (Zhirinovsky)/ 79.8 million
26-Peace and Unity party companies (Mrs. Sagi)/ 34 million
27-Russian committee of solidarity with Iraq (Rodasaiev)/ 6.5 million
28-Russian association of solidarity with Iraq (Goravilion)/ 12.5 million
29-Rus Naft Gaz Export Co. (Mr.Akapapon)/ 12.5 million
30-Ural Invest Co. (Mr. Stroiev)/ 8.5 million
31-Zeidg-Moscow Science Academy/ 3.5 million
32-Raomin (son to former Russian ambassador in Iraq)/ 19.7 million
33-Zrabesh Naft (Gopkin Univ.)/ 3.5 million
34-NordWest group/ 2 million
35-Zrabesh Naft Gas -Gaz Brum (Mr Hassan)/ 3 million (only 1 million delivered)
36-Soyouz Naft Gas (Mr. Shvranck)/ 25.5 million
37-Nicolai Rytchkov/ 13 million
38-Stroi Naft Gas/ 6 million
39-Acht Naft Co./ 4.5 million
40-Chechnian adminstration/ 2 million
41-Adil Al-Jilawi (ANM Air)/ 5 million
42-Khruzlet/ 5 million
43-Trans Nafta/ 3 million
44-Russian presidential office secretary/ 5 million
45-Russian Orthodox Church/ 5 million
46-Russian National Democratic party/ 2 million

Saudi Arabia:

1-Naja Co./3 million
2-Asis Co./2 million


1-Slovakian Communist party/4 million

South Africa:

1-Emvium manajmant (Sandy Majaly)/9 million
2-Tokyo SaxOil/4 million
3-Montega/4 million
4-Omni Adel/4 million


1-Bassim Qaqish (Spanish committee for defense of Arabs)/17.5 million
2-Javier Robert/9.8 million
3-Ali Balut (journalist)/8.8 million


1-Smaso/8 million
2-Petrolium products Co./2 tons
3-Oil Plus/2 tons


1-Media/2 million
2-Delta Service/2 million
3-Aiblum/1 million
4-Spul/2 million
5-Glenco/12 million
6-Lakia/2 million
7-Alcon/23 million
8-Taurus/8 million
9-PetroGas/5 million
10-Finar/21 million
11-Nabex Co./3 million


1-Awadh Amurah/18 million barrels
2-Bashar Noori/12 million barrels
3-Ghassan Shalah/11 million barrels
4-Mohammad Ammar Nawfal/3.5 million barrels
5-Tammam Shihab/1 million barrels
6-Hamida Na'na (Al-Wifaq Al-Arabi newspaper)/9 million barrels
7-Firas Mustafa Talas (son of defense minister)/6 million barrels
8-Saleem Alton/3.5 million barrels
9-Lutfi Fawzi/2.5 million
10-Lead pledging Co./3.5 million
11-Ghassan Zacharia/6 million
12-Mohammad Ma'mun Al-Sab'i/4 million
13-Hassan Al-Kayyal/2 million
14-Anwar Al-Aqqad/2 million


1-Rice merchant Jayborn/9.5 million


1-Medix Petrolium/6.7 million
2-FernaCo/3.7 million
3-Maydur/4 million


1-Zain Al-Abidin Erdem/27 million
2-Lutfi Doghan/11 million
3-Mohammad Aslan/13 million
4-Ticfin/15.5 million
5-KCK Co./1.5 million
6-Delta Petrolium/4 million
7-CETA/2 million
8-Ozia/2.5 million
9-Samir/2 million
10-Muhtashim/2 million
11-Muqadar Sazgin/2 million


1-Social Democratic party/8.5 million
2-Ukranian Communist party/6 million
3-Energy Resources/2 million
4-Vazmach Embex/2 million
5-NeftoGaz/8 million
6-Hue Co. (Sokolov)/5 million
7-Orchatski/4.5 million
8-Fedralti Torkovi/1 million
9-Trans Ezco/1 million
10-Ukranian house/10 million
11-FTD Oil/2 million
12-Ukranian Socialist party/2 million

United Arab Emirates:

1-Val Petrolium/1.8 million
2-Ahmad Mani Said Al-Utaiba/11 million
3-Gewan Oil/7.5 million
4-Prince Sultan bin Zayid Al-Nhayan/4 million
5-Al-Huda/2.9 million
6-Prince Issa bin Zayid Al-Nhyan/5 million
7-Millenium/2 tons
8-Boni fuel/1 ton


1-Shakir Al-Khafaji/7 million
2-Samir Vincent/10.5 million


1-VienabCo/1.2 million
2-Derlink med/3 million
3-VienaVod/6 million
4-OSC/2 tons


1-Socialist party/22 million
2-Left party (JUL)/9.5 million
3-Italian party/16 million
4-Kostunica's party/6 million

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