Oil for Food – notes

Fairly raw notes on the “oil for food” scandal…

Implicated US oil companies:

  • Exxon Mobil
    • Esso
  • ChevronTexaco
  • Condoleeza Rice

  • El Paso Corp
  • Bay Oil USA (Costal)
  • David Chalmers

  • Valero Energy Corp
  • Phoenix International
  • Samir Vincent

US Companies who exported to Iraq

  • Halliburton
  • Schlumberger
  • Flowserve
  • Fisher-Rosemount
  • Baker Atlas
  • Baker Hughes Inc.

  • Cargill Inc. and Continental Grain
  • now owned by Cargill

Other Implicated US Companies

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • CPA selects Trade Bank
    of Iraq winners

    A consortium of 13 international banks led by JP Morgan Chase will lead the newly created Trade Bank of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq announced on 29th August. The CPA has decided to create the Trade Bank to allow Iraqi ministries to begin making big-ticket purchases abroad. The programme is on track to start up in September and is expected to handle annual purchases of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The winning group will be paid about $2 million to run the Trade Bank once a contract is drawn up, and will also benefit from billions of dollars in anticipated business that will eventually flow through the facility, according to Peter McPherson, director of economic development for the CPA. “The real action here isn’t the contract to run the trade bank or to oversee the trade bank,” McPherson explains. “It is the trade credit that will go through the trade bank.”

Implicated Foreign Companies:

  • BNP Paribas
  • – French bank responsible for all (?) transactions
    French Embassy: 41% of the money passed through J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, which, like BNP, was contracted by the U.N. with the approval of Security Council members.
    BNP was located in the US, subject to US oversight?

  • Cotecna
  • – Swiss company responsible for oil for food oversight

  • Technip
    • Duco Inc.
      16661 Jacintoport Boulevard
      Houston – Texas 77015 – USA
    • Drilling, Refining & Onshore Division
      16661 Jacintoport Boulevard
      Houston, Texas 77015 – USA
    • Gulf Marine Fabricators
      Po Box 3000 1982 FM 2725
      Aransas Pass, Texas 78336 – USA
    • Perry Slingsby Systems Inc. (Headquarters)
      821 Jupiter Park Drive
      Jupiter Florida – 33458 – USA
    • Technip BioPharm,Inc.
      106 Allen Road Suite 300
      Liberty Corner, New Jersey 07938 – USA
    • RJ Brown Deepwater Inc.
      11700 Old Katy Road, Suite 150
      Houston – Texas 77079 – USA
    • Technip Offshore Contractors, Inc.
      12141 Wickchester Lane
      Houston – Texas 77079 – USA
    • Technip Offshore Contractors, Inc
      Mobile Spoolbase
      7323 Dauphin Island Parkway
      Theodore – Alabama – 36582 – USA
    • Technip Offshore, Inc.
      11700 Old Katy Road, Suite 150
      Houston, Texas 77079 – USA
    • Technip Rauma Offshore, Inc.
      11700 Old Katy Road, Suite 150
      Houston, Texas 77079 – USA
    • Technip Upstream Houston
      11700 Old Katy Road
      Houston, Texas 77079 – USA
    • Technip USA Corporation/ Americas (Houston)
      1990, Post Oak Blvd
      Suite 200
      Houston, TX 77056-3846 – USA

International Oil Companies:

bought more than $3 billion in oil

  • Total International Ltd.
  • SOCAP International Ltd.

bought more than $7.3 billion in oil.

  • Zarubezhneft
  • J.S.C. Alfa Eco

  • [ an unnamed company]

Chinese (London-based):
bought $2.2 billion in oil.

  • Sinochem International Oil London Co.


  • Taurus Oil
  • Ben Pollner, New York
    Plutocrats Gushing Over Iraqi Oil

    a “Swiss trading firm” called Taurus, was also involved in the July sale of 8 million barrels of Iraqi crude. Who the Geneva-based Taurus is, however, remains unknown.

Implicated individuals:

  • Benon Sevan
  • head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program

  • Oscar Wyatt
  • , of Houston
    “El Paso, of Houston, in 2001 took over the assets of Coastal Corp., a company once run by Mr. Wyatt.” – CorpWatch

  • Shakir al Khafaji
  • , of West Bloomfield, Mich.
    non-profit: Life for Relief and Development

  • Samir Vincent
  • , of Annandale, Va

  • Charles Pasqua
  • , former French Interior minister
    BBC: Ex-minister denies Iraq oil claim – 27 January, 2004

  • Ben Pollner,
  • New York.
    head of Taurus Oil.

  • Kojo Annan
  • Cotecna


    The UN said Nov. 26 that Kojo Annan, 29, received $2,500 a month over four years from Geneva-based Cotecna Inspection SA, which authenticated humanitarian goods that entered Iraq under the UN-administered oil-for-food program from 1999 to November 2003.

    Kurdistan Regional Government (Reuters): Annan ‘Disappointed’ in Son’s Lack of Disclosure

    Cotecna had been hired by the United Nations from December 1998 until 2003 to check civilian supplies reaching Iraq under the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program, which is being probed for abuses by Saddam Hussein’s government.

    There is no evidence Kojo Annan, based in Nigeria, worked on the Iraq project for Cotecna, which was also hired by the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq until mid-2004.

    Answering questions, Annan said: “Naturally I have warm, family relations with my son, but he is in a different field. He is an independent businessman. He is a grown man and I don’t get involved with his activities and he doesn’t get involved in mine.”

    U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said the secretary-general had no role in the distribution of contracts, and those who signed the deal maintained they did not know in 1998 that Kojo Annan, then a trainee, worked for Cotecna.


AP: Ghost Firms Hinder Oil-For-Food Probe

Dec 25, 2004 6:17 PM EST

Associated Press Writer

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.-ordered probe into oil-for-food corruption is being seriously hampered by an elaborate system of ghost firms set up around the world to cover the tracks of bribes to Saddam Hussein as he cheated the $60 billion program, a top investigator said.

Some front companies in this global oil trading center and elsewhere that dealt with Saddam have been liquidated or have hidden ownership, complicating the search for evidence of financial improprieties, said Swiss criminal lawyer Mark Pieth. He’s one of three commission members leading the probe headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

The names of several Swiss firms have appeared on lists of companies receiving Iraqi oil, among them the country’s largest commodity trader, Glencore International AG, which obtained more than $240 million of oil under the program, according to the Volcker investigation.

A CIA report published in September named Glencore as one of the most prolific purchasers of Iraqi oil and alleged the company paid over $3.2 million in kickbacks to the Iraqi government.

Glencore denied the allegation, stressing it “had had no direct dealings with the Iraqi government outside the U.N. oil-for-food program,” said spokeswoman Lotti Grenacher.

Geneva-based Taurus Petroleum, which is owned by a Swedish parent company, has become the first company to begin oil trading with Iraq after the fall of Saddam’s regime. Taurus denied paying bribes to any Iraqi officials and said it had not done business under the U.N. program, although its name has appeared in unofficial reports on oil-for-food.

Boston.com: France disputes report on oil deals

By Pamela Sampson, Associated Press | October 26, 2004

PARIS — Allegations that French companies illicitly reaped financial benefits from the UN oil-for-food program are ”inaccurate” and unsubstantiated, France said yesterday in a sharp response to a US arms inspector’s report.

The report by Charles Duelfer, which alleged that French companies and individuals participated in a secret oil voucher program that helped former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein circumvent UN sanctions, lacks proof to back up the charges, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry’s response was an attempt to cast doubt on Duelfer’s report, published earlier this month, listing foreign entities that received vouchers for oil contracts under the UN oil-for-food program.

The report said the names of American companies and individuals who may have been involved in oil deals weren’t released because of US privacy laws.

It alleged that Hussein’s government had used the oil vouchers both to solicit kickbacks and to reward countries and individuals willing to cooperate with Iraq’s political goals. Companies and individuals from Russia, France, and China dominated the list.

But only 8 percent of France’s oil imports came from Iraq in 2001, a separate Foreign Ministry statement said. It added that of 1,129 companies from 86 countries on a list of registered buyers under the oil-for-food program, only 20 were French.

”It is completely inaccurate to say that France had major commercial interests in Iraq before the war,” the statement said.

The oil-for-food program had an account at French bank BNP Paribas, but France said the bank was located in the United States, subject to US regulations, and was one of two charged with managing the program.

”The account was also inspected twice yearly by the Board of Auditors of the United Nations,” the ministry statement said.

In addition, many companies that participated in the oil-for-food program that were identified as French were not, the ministry said. Some companies were American but used French branches, agents, or intermediaries, it said.

Reuters (Macon Daily): Oil Giants Get UN Oil-For-Food Subpoenas

By: Carolyn Koo
Fri Jun 18, 2004 02:36 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and ChevronTexaco (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) have received subpoenas from a federal prosecutor regarding the U.N.-run oil-for-food program in Iraq, the two largest U.S. oil companies said on Friday.

During the period the oil-for-food program was running, the United States was indirectly the biggest purchaser of Iraqi oil, consuming about two-thirds of Iraqi crude exports and buying the oil through middlemen who dealt directly with Baghdad.

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, was a big buyer of Iraqi crude until the spring of 2002, when U.S. corporate officials came under pressure for buying crude that was widely known to be supplying cash to Saddam Hussein’s regime with a per-barrel surcharge.

It refined an average of about 90,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s crude in 2001, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

ChevronTexaco was the biggest U.S. buyer of Iraqi crude, averaging about 135,000 barrels per day in 2001, according to U.S. government figures, and continuing to buy after Exxon Mobil stopped.

It continued to buy until the war began, purchasing an average of 150,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude in March 2003.

BBC: Iraq oil-for-food probe spreads

Monday, 21 June, 2004, 08:14 GMT 09:1

US oil refiner Valero Energy has become the third US company to receive a subpoena seeking information about its role in Iraq’s oil-for-food programme.

Oil giants Exxon Mobil and ChevronTexaco confirmed on Friday that they had also been subpoenaed, Reuters news agency reported.

Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco and Valero were the three biggest buyers of Iraqi oil during the years of the oil-for-food programme.

The programme is the subject of separate investigations by the UN, the US Congress and the Iraqi government following allegations of corruption.

CNN Money: Exxon, Chevron named in Iraqi probe

  • October 11, 2004: 8:08 AM EDT
  • NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – A report on potential abuses in Iraq’s former oil-for-food program named Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco and El Paso Corp. as companies associated with Saddam Hussein’s efforts to flout sanctions, according to a report published Monday.

    CorpWatch (re WSJ): IRAQ: Oil-for-Food probe hits U.S. Oil Companies

    Exxon, Chevron and El Paso Are Named in CIA Report On Hussein-Era Program

    by By Jess Bravin in New York, John D. Mckinnnon in Washington and Russel Gold Dallas, Wall Street Journal
    October 13th, 2004
    Federal investigators are focusing on four American oil companies and three U.S. citizens who allegedly received vouchers for oil from Saddam Hussein as he sought to flout United Nations sanctions.

    The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan also is investigating corruption allegations against the former head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, Benon Sevan, according to a person familiar with the case.

    WaPo: Firms in Iraq’s Oil-for-Food Program Revealed

    Corruption Probe Names 4,734 Companies That Traded Under U.N. Arrangement

    By Colum Lynch
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, October 22, 2004; Page A21

    Firms based in Russia, France, Switzerland, Britain and Turkey purchased about $32 billion of Iraqi crude through the U.N. oil-for-food deal, about half of all oil sold by Hussein’s government under the U.N. program, according to the list. Four U.S. companies are listed as having purchased $482 million worth of Iraqi crude.

    Russian oil traders captured nearly one-third of Iraq’s oil export market. Three Russian companies, Zarubezhneft and J.S.C. Alfa Eco and an unnamed company, bought more than $7.3 billion in oil. Two French firms, Total International Ltd. and SOCAP International Ltd., bought more than $3 billion. And a London-based Chinese firm, Sinochem International Oil London Co., bought $2.2 billion in crude.

    Seattle Times: Americans among beneficiaries in oil scandal

    Saturday, October 09, 2004 – Page updated at 12:25 A.M.
    By T. Christian Miller
    Los Angeles Times

    WASHINGTON — Three U.S. citizens, all of whom campaigned against Iraq sanctions, were among those who received special grants from a scandal-ridden oil program overseen by Saddam Hussein, according to congressional officials and a CIA report released this week.

    The American names were left out of a massive report released to the public this week by Charles Duelfer, who headed the CIA effort to document Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Privacy was cited as the reason. A complete copy with the names included was given to some congressional representatives on Thursday.

    FoxNews: Oil-for-Food Investigation Wants Answers From Bremer

    Friday, June 25, 2004
    U.N. Warns Oil-for-Food Companies on Documents

    Just days before he is due to leave Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (search) administrator Paul Bremer is facing new accusations that he is hindering, rather than helping, the oil-for-food investigation.

    Rep. Christopher Shays (search ), R-Conn., wrote Bremer a letter in May requesting answers to a series of questions about Bremer’s handling of the oil-for-food investigation. Bremer recently responded to that letter and, according to Shays, there are many questions left unanswered.

    A three-member panel led by Paul Volcker (search), the former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, is investigating the oil-for-food scandal. The panel does not have subpoena authority and will rely instead on voluntary cooperation from governments, U.N. staff, members of Saddam Hussein’s former government and current Iraqi leaders.

    The panel says it has evidence that dozens of people, including top U.N. officials, took kickbacks from the $67 billion oil-for-food program.

    The General Accounting Office (search), the U.S. Congress’ investigative arm, estimated in March that the Iraqi government pocketed $5.7 billion by smuggling oil to its neighbors and $4.4 billion by extracting kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts.

    abcNews: Americans’ Role Eyed in U.N. Oil Scandal

    Dec. 1, 2004 — 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.

    Top officials of the United Nations, 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.

    Le Monde (Global Policy): Switzerland Investigates Trading Companies that Profited from Saddam Hussein’s Oil

    By Marc Roche
    Le Monde
    January 31, 2004

    Liquidation of Brokers

    To this day, the SECO has only been able to identify half of the companies in question. The investigation is proving to be extremely complex. The spelling and translation from Arab of the names of the entities in question is often approximate. The supporting documents come not from the Iraqi Oil Ministry, but from SOMO, the hydrocarbon marketing organization and fief of the ex-dictator, the files of which were pillaged after the fall of Baghdad.

    “It’s insane to see how many oil broker liquidations there have been since Saddam’s fall. These companies come into being and disappear without a trace. The names change constantly. They alter the corporate name to abandon the debts to their creditors and confuse the trail. In Geneva, traders often hide behind corporate fiduciaries or auditors,” explains a Geneva observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Thus, Delta Services SA was liquidated following bankruptcy proceedings in 2001 and erased from the Geneva commercial register. Its vague mission was to supply “services and advice, especially in financial and accounting management”. Its administrators were two Swiss nationals, Tariq and Patricia Mohsen, and a Saudi.

    Taurus Petroleum, which transferred its headquarters last year from Geneva to the fiscal paradise of Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis in the British Antilles, also figures on the list. “The Swiss company was created January 1, 2003; consequently well after the events in question. We are linked to the oil trading company Taurus, which worked in Iraq in the framework of the ‘Oil for Food’ program,” indicates Maurice Taylor, the firm’s administrator, who was the first Swiss trader to buy Iraqi oil after Baghdad’s fall. Another name cited, Petrogaz Distribution, like all the others, denies all allegations.

    Founded in 1999 in Geneva, specialized, according to its statutes, in oil product import and export, Lakia SARL is controlled today by two Russian businessmen, Gavi and Zalimkhan Lougouev. They cannot be reached. For unknown reasons, the Russian state company Rosneft withdrew from Lakia in 2000. Finally, according to certain sources, Klinko, the main beneficiary of Saddam’s largesse, is only a screen for Glencore. The latter, one of the world’s largest commodity traders, rejects the Iraqi newspaper’s assertions “with the greatest firmness”.

    Guardian: US buys up Iraqi oil to stave off crisis

    Seizing reserves will be an allied priority if forces go in

    Faisal Islam and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
    Sunday January 26, 2003
    The Observer

    Facing its most chronic shortage in oil stocks for 27 years, the US has this month turned to an unlikely source of help – Iraq.

    Weeks before a prospective invasion of Iraq, the oil-rich state has doubled its exports of oil to America, helping US refineries cope with a debilitating strike in Venezuela.

    After the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production in December the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves threatened to do permanent damage to the US oil refinery and transport infrastructure. To keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the 700m barrel strategic reserve.

    But ultimately oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell saved the day by doubling imports from Iraq from 0.5m barrels in November to over 1m barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, US importers diverted 0.5m barrels of Iraqi oil per day heading for Europe and Asia to save the American oil infrastructure.

    The trade, though bizarre given current Pentagon plans to launch around 300 cruise missiles a day on Iraq, is legal under the terms of UN’s oil for food programme.