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Investigators To Issue Final Oil-For-Food Report

Commission head Paul Volcker (file photo) (epa) 27 October 2005 -- The committee that has been investigating allegations of corruption in the United Nations' oil-for-food program with Iraq is scheduled today to release its final report.

News agencies say the report is expected to reveal that more than 2,500 companies from at least 60 countries evaded UN controls and were involved with bribes and kickbacks with Saddam Hussein's government in an extensive manipulation of the oil-for-food program.

The names of the companies are expected to be included in the final report.

Illegal payments to Hussein's government were estimated at some $1.8 billion according to the investigators. Countries with many companies involved in the program include Russia and France.

The UN-backed report by investigators led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is also expected to criticize the UN Security Council and Secretariat for failing to monitor the program adequately.

The $64 billion oil-for-food program operated from 1996 to 2003 and was aimed at easing the effects of UN sanctions by allowing Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine, and other goods for ordinary Iraqis.

(Reuters, AP, "New York Times")