The United Nations Oil-for-Food Program

April 18, 2003 – New York Times

Oil, Food and a Whole Lot of Questions

President Bush’s call to lift economic sanctions against Iraq could mean the end of the United Nations oil-for-food program, which has overseen the country’s oil sales since 1996. Not only are France and Russia likely to object, but they may well support efforts by Secretary General Kofi Annan to modify the oil-for-food system, which is due to expire on May 12, and give it a large role in rebuilding the country. Whatever Mr. Annan’s reasons for wanting to reincarnate the operation, before he makes his case there’s something he needs to do: open the books.

The oil-for-food program is no ordinary relief effort. Not only does it involve astronomical amounts of money, it also operates with alarming secrecy. Intended to ease the human cost of economic sanctions by letting Iraq sell oil and use the profits for staples like milk and medicine, the program has morphed into big business. Since its inception, the program has overseen more than $100 billion in contracts for oil exports and relief imports combined.

It also collects a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel — more than $1 billion to date — that is supposed to cover its administrative costs. According to staff members, the program’s bank accounts over the past year have held balances upward of $12 billion. With all that money pouring straight from Iraq’s oil taps — thus obviating the need to wring donations from member countries — the oil-for-food program has evolved into a bonanza of jobs and commercial clout.

The quantities of goods involved in shipments are confidential, and almost all descriptions on the contract lists made public by the United Nations are so generic as to be meaningless. For example, a deal with Russia approved last Nov. 19 was described on the contract papers with the enigmatic notation: ”goods for resumption of project.” Who are the Russian suppliers? The United Nations won’t say. What were they promised in payment? That’s secret.


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Abel Danger, May 8, 2011

Two corporations that have consistently been looked at by Abel Danger researchers are Bombardier and BNP Paribas. Paul Desmarais Sr was on the board of Bombardier and currently sits on the board of BNP Paribas. From the diagram above, Nadhmi Auchi (cousin of Saddam Hussein) should also be noted – related to Abel Danger economic forensics – for his involvement in BNP Paribas and the Iraq Oil-for-Food scheme:

“First, who is Nadhmi Auchi? .. Iraqi-born, British billionaire who, according to one report, “set up a variety of deals with Saddam Hussein’s regime prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and was one of the largest private shareholders in BNP Paribas, the bank that trafficked most of the funds involved in the UN Oil-For-Food scandal.

Power Corporation of Canada made headlines in 2005, when it was revealed that the man handpicked by the UN secretary general to probe the UN’s scandal-soaked Oil-for-Food Programme, Paul Volcker, had not disclosed to the UN that he was a paid adviser to Power Corporation. Volcker was obviously too close for comfort to the same companies he was tasked with investigating. This was a clear conflict of interest, as Power Corporation had ties to the French oil giant, Total, which was being investigated under the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme for lucrative contracts to develop and exploit the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq.


Abel Danger, February 25, 2012

Plaintiffs will prove that the defendants reward assassins with ‘off-book’ funds, including money confiscated by the Canadian Privy Council or the U.S. Department of Justice from international drug cartels or ‘stolen’ by non-government organizations such as the UN Oil-for-Food Program or the UN Environmental Programme.


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Canada Free Press, December 9, 2005: “Congressional report calls for investigation of Maurice Strong’s role in Oil-for-Food scandal”

A draft congressional report has called for the investigation of Canadian Maurice Strong’s role in the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.

Page 35 of the 54-page report, written by Republicans on a House International Relations subcommittee states: “Maurice Strong should be examined for his role in the OFFP.”

Strong is a long-time advisor to both UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.