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The Iraqi daily newspaper "Al-Mada" in its 25 January edition published a sensational list of companies, organizations, and individuals who allegedly were allocated crude oil in return for political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Among the organizations and individuals named in the article are: In Russia, among others, Zarubezhneft 174.5 million barrels, Rosneft 66.9 million (the article claims that the oil was destined for the Russian president's office and 1 million for Vladimir Titorenko, the Russian ambassador in Iraq), the Russian Orthodox Church (5 million barrels), the head of the Russian presidential administration (5 million), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (79.8 million), the Communist Party (1 million), and Yukos (2 million). In Ukraine, the Social Democratic Party was allegedly allocated 1 million, the Communist Party (6 million), Naftohaz Ukrayiny (8 million), and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (1 million). In Belarus, the presidential administration allegedly received 1 million barrels, and the Liberal Party 1 million.
The former British Labour member of Parliament and longtime supporter of Saddam Hussein, George Galloway, is mentioned in the article a number of times as a recipient of some 17 million barrels of oil, which allegedly were funneled to him through a number of different companies. Galloway had been accused of getting money from Hussein in 2002 by the British newspaper "The Daily Telegraph" and denied the charges at that time.
Among other individuals named by "Al-Mada" are the son of late Egyptian President Nasser, former Jordanian parliamentarian Tujan al-Faysal, the current president of Indonesia, the son of the president of Lebanon, and the son of the Syrian defense minister.
Iraqi Oil Ministry Undersecretary Abdul Sahib Salman Qotob told the AFP news agency on 27 January that documents belonging to the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) "reveal how Saddam jeopardized the oil wealth of Iraq on personalities who had supported him and turned a blind eye on the mass graves and injustice he inflicted on the sons of the Iraqi people."
According to AFP, the ministry was working with Interpol to recover the money "allegedly made by figures cashing in millions of barrels of crude oil they had received for free."
Spokesmen for both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Liberal Democratic Party led by Vladimir Zhirinovskii denied the charges, according to "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 29 January. The paper noted that the Russian Orthodox Church had been involved in oil trading since 1990, when it became the co-owner of the International Economic Cooperation society and partook in government projects designed to help fund federal programs in Russia. A delegation from the church visited Iraq prior to the war, where the head of the delegation handed Hussein a letter of support from Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksii II.
The secretary of the Russian Communist Party, Oleg Kulikov, told "Nezavisimaya gazeta" that the article was "black PR" and that everything which is occurred in Iraq "was under the control of American special services."
Neither the Ukrainian nor Belarusian press has written about these charges so far.