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June 30, 2008 

Government of Iraq Files Lawsuit in Federal Court Seeking Damages Resulting From Oil-for-Food Program

Attorneys representing the government of the Republic of Iraq have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, NY against numerous companies and individuals involved in the United Nations oil-for-food program.

According to a Dow Jones report, the lawsuit, filed last Friday, alleged:

That the companies engaged in a conspiracy with members of Saddam Hussein's regime to corrupt the program "in order to reap the economic benefits of trading" under it, including paying billions of dollars in kickbacks to Hussein's government.

"Billions of dollars were lost, all of which were directly translatable into food, medicine and other humanitarian goods that were supposed to reach the Iraqi people," the lawsuit said. "The resulting damage in human suffering caused to the Republic of Iraq and to the people of Iraq is virtually incalculable.

The lawsuit is seeking $10 billion in damages.

Originally conceived as a temporary program to bring food and medicines to the Iraqi populace, the Oil-for-Food Program was established by the United Nations in 1995 and ran from 1996 to 2003 and approved more than $100 billion in transactions (over $64 billion in oil sales and nearly $39 billion for food).

The Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, commonly known as the Volcker Commission, found serious vulnerabilities in the program and stated that "its management were exploited by some within the United Nations and many outside it, including the Iraq regime, grievously damaging the reputation and credibility of the United Nations."




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