Day by Day

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Iraq - New Evidence Against Galloway

The BBC reports on the mounting evidence against Galloway.

Respect MP George Galloway has denied new claims that he profited from Saddam Hussein's oil-for-food programme and lied about it under oath.

The US Senate committee claims the anti-war MP lied to its members when he testified in Washington in May.

The committee says it has seen bank records linking Mr Galloway and his wife with Iraqi government vouchers.


At the time he testified, big media were falling all over themselves portraying Galloway in a David vs Goliath senario. The world's media all chimed in that Galloway had given it to the Senate but good.

But as I said at the time, if you read the transcript of the exchanges, it was clear that all the committee wanted to do was get Galloway's statement on record - they even said so. I don't know the possible legal implications of a British MP lying to the US Senate under oath, but they must have had their reasons for getting him on record.

The Independent has a lot more detail.

In a report issued here, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and his colleagues on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations claim to have evidence showing that Mr Galloway's political organisation and his wife received vouchers worth almost $600,000 (£338,000) from the then Iraqi government.

"We have what we call the smoking gun," said Mr Coleman, who will send the report to the US Department of Justice and the British authorities. The MP could face charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing a Congressional investigation. Each charge carries a possible jail term of five years and a fine of $250,000.


But would Britain hand him over to the US? What do the Iraqis get to say in all of this? It's their money after all.

More from Reuters.

According to the report, evidence showed that Galloway personally solicited and was granted oil allocations from the Iraqi government for 23 million barrels from 1999 to 2003. It said Galloway's wife received about $150,000 (85,000 pounds) in connection with the allocations and a fund he started, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000. [...]

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the subcommittee's top Democrat, said the report contained "strong new evidence" that the Iraqi government "granted repeated, substantial oil allocations" to Galloway.

The report, which included copies of banking documents and wire transfers, said that Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman and a friend of Galloway's, received money in connection with an oil allocation and transferred "a significant portion of that money" to Galloway's wife and to the Mariam Appeal fund.

It also said former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, under questioning by the subcommittee, said he had discussed oil allocations with Galloway and confirmed a letter in which Galloway requested a bigger oil allocation.

The report also cited Iraqi Ministry of Oil documents, interviews with an oil trader who said he has discussed the oil allocations with Galloway and a written statement from another oil trader who said he negotiated with Galloway's agent to buy Galloway's oil allocation.


No wonder the BBC left out so much detail.

Note that these Ministry of Oil documents are not the same ones as the Telegraph's as Galloway claims. These documents are from a different time period.

And the noose tightens Mr. Galloway.

And there is much more evidence from The Times (UK) here and here.

UPDATE

More on the money trail from The Telegraph here and here.
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