Day by Day

Monday, November 15, 2004

UN Iraq oil for food scandal grows

Saddam's illegal take was much larger than believed

The Associated Press

CAPITOL HILL Saddam Hussein's ability to circumvent the U-N's Oil for Food program brought him a lot more money than previously believed.

Congressional investigators put the illegal revenue at 21-point-three billion dollars, more than double the previous estimates.

Senate Investigations subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman says the investigation "is like an onion." He says "we just keep uncovering more layers and more layers."

The new estimate of Iraq's alleged surcharges, kickbacks and oil smuggling are based on new documents that the committee has reviewed.

They show how Iraqi officials, foreign companies and sometimes politicians allegedly contrived to allow the Iraqi government vast illicit gains.

Coleman says he's very angry that the U-N hasn't provided documents and access that investigators need.

He also says there's no answer yet on how much of the 21 billion is currently funding the insurgency in Iraq

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