The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Many UK Companies May Receive Kickbacks on Iraq Oil Deals - UK Has Most Companies Doing Oil Business w/Iraq (12 Apr 01)

Copyright 2001 The Financial Times Limited   
Financial Times (London) 
April 12, 2001, Thursday London Edition 2 

LENGTH: 449 words 
HEADLINE: INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY: UK leads way for business with Iraq 
The UK is home to more companies doing oil business with Iraq than any other country, a 
confidential United Nations list of buyers - many of which are said to be paying illegal kickbacks 
to the Iraqi regime - shows. 

The list, obtained by the FT, was discussed yesterday in a closed-door meeting by members of the UN 
Security Council. It shows that 98 of 735 companies registered to buy oil directly from Iraq are 
from the UK. 

The vast majority of the companies on the list are shadowy middlemen, many of which are suspected 
of paying illegal surcharges to Saddam Hussein's government. 

Iraq's regime gains Dollars 2bn-Dollars 3bn (Pounds 1.4bn-Pounds 2.1bn) a year through oil 
smuggling and such surcharges, and diplomats are concerned Mr Saddam could use the unchecked money 
to build up his weapons arsenal. Halting the kickbacks is a top priority for the Bush 
administration and the UN as they struggle to maintain the crumbling 10-year-old sanctions regime. 

The UK mission to the UN has registered over 2 1/2 times more companies than the United Arab 
Emirates and more than four times more than Russia, which had been viewed as the main culprit in 
doing oil business with Iraq before UN oil overseers prepared the list. 

Ironically, the UK is at the forefront of the campaign to eliminate illegal kickbacks by weeding 
middlemen, who are not well established in the market, from the list of companies approved by the 
UN to buy Iraqi oil. 

The UK and the US have proposed tighter registration rules, forcing companies to prove financial 
solidity and a prominent past within the oil market, before being able to buy oil through the UN's 
oil-for-food programme. 

Diplomats believe that making the process more stringent would reduce the list to little more than 
100 companies. 

"What we are proposing is that there should be criteria referring to the companies' respectability 
and reliability in the market," said one UK diplomat. 

Some of those currently registered through the UK include well-known trading companies such as 
Phibro Energy, as well as obscure names, such as Mr Abdullah and Mr Marcus Papadopoulos. 

"This doesn't reflect any endorsement by the British government," a UK official said. "At present 
we would have no legal basis to apply criteria to such applications of companies wanting to be on 
the register." 

Nevertheless, the revelation that the UK is the most prominent place from which middlemen register 
has added fuel to French and Russian objections over London's plan to toughen the rules. 

"If they want to reduce the middlemen they must sweep their own porch first," said one western 
diplomat, who is not enamoured of the UK's draft paper. 

LOAD-DATE: April 11, 2001

FREE! The World's Best Email Address
Reserve your name now at

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]