AP: Ghost Firms Hinder Oil-For-Food Probe

“GENEVA – The U.N.-ordered probe into oil-for-food corruption is being seriously hampered by an elaborate system of ghost firms set up around the world to cover the tracks of bribes to Saddam Hussein (newsweb sites) as he cheated the $60 billion program, a top investigator said.

Some front companies in this global oil trading center and elsewhere that dealt with Saddam have been liquidated or have hidden ownership, complicating the search for evidence of financial improprieties, said Swiss criminal lawyer Mark Pieth. He’s one of three commission members leading the probe headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve (newsweb sites) chairman Paul Volcker.

Major oil trading companies and individuals — from American businessmen to French, Chinese and Russian politicians — are suspected of benefiting from lucrative Iraqi oil contracts that involved kickbacks, according to the independent panel’s initial findings.”

You have to love the UN, what a fine organization.

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