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December 02, 2004

Shock: Clinton Crony Marc Rich Involved in Food-For-Oil Scam

Legacy time:

Dec. 1, 2004 β€” Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.

And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts.

"Without that kind of middleman, the system would not work because the major oil companies did not want to deal with Iraq because there was a mandated kickback," said human rights investigator John Fawcett.


The U.N. oil-for-food corruption scandal only continues to grow in scope. Today, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who is leading the congressional investigation into the program, said that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan should resign because the scandal occurred on his watch.


Top officials of the U.N., including Annan, are accused of looking the other way as some $21 billion meant for humanitarian aid was stolen by the Saddam Hussein regime.

Uncovered in the federal criminal investigation were previously undisclosed payments to Annan's son, Kojo, from his employer Cotecna. The Swiss company had been specifically hired to monitor the oil-for-food program.

Annan's son left the company in 1998 but received payments until this year.

Secretary-general since 1997, Annan said this week he was unaware of the payments. "Naturally I was very disappointed and surprised, yes," he said.

Also under criminal investigation is the U.N. official Annan put in charge of the program, Benon Sevan.

Very disappointed and surprised, yes.

I'm going to start using that when I get caught in billion-dollar thefts.

Can we remind ourselves, again, that this is the institution -- run by these cheapjack gangsters -- that Kerry & Co. wanted to put in charge of US foreign policy?

The NY Post's most excellent Deborah Orin hasn't forgotten:

If Dems don't watch it, they'll all land with Kerry on the wrong side of the exploding scandal over the $21.3 billion rip-off plus what U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan knew about secret payments to his son and when he knew it.

Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin puts it this way: "Kofi Annan has run the U.N. like Tony Soprano β€” and when voters realize it, they're going to be really angry."

He contends some news outlets, like CBS and The New York Times, have downplayed the scandal because they are reflexively pro-U.N., just like most reporters. But even they are starting to have to cover it β€” and congressional probers of both parties say what's out so far is only the tip of the iceberg.

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posted by Ace at 04:08 AM

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