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Annan: U.S., U.K. Partly To Blame For Iraq Oil Scandal

Kofi Annan (file photo) 15 April 2005 -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the United States and United Kingdom are partly to blame for allowing former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime to make billions of dollars from unsupervised oil exports while under UN sanctions.

Annan said the Americans and British had the interdiction forces that could have stopped the oil exports, but did not.

Annan said the United States and Britain closed their eyes to Iraqi oil smuggling to Turkey and Jordan, because those two countries are allies.

He also noted that most of the money Hussein's regime made illegally while under UN sanctions was from oil smuggling, not from kickback schemes under the "oil-for-food" program.

Annan's comments came as U.S. federal prosecutors in New York yesterday charged an American businessman, a Briton, and a Bulgarian with allegedly paying millions in secret kickbacks to Hussein's regime to secure oil deals as part of the oil-for-food program (see UN: Three Charged In Oil-For-Food Kickback Scheme).

In a separate case connected to the oil-for-food program, a South Korean was charged with accepting millions of dollars while operating as an unregistered agent for Hussein's government in the United States.


For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".