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  Wednesday, April 8, 2020
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A UN commission has failed to prove that Russian companies were involved in the Iraq oil-for-food corruption scandal
A UN commission has failed to prove that Russian companies were involved in the Iraq oil-for-food corruption scandal, a foreign ministry official said Friday. "Documents presented to the Russian side by the Volcker Commission do not contain proof, and they cannot be the basis for an investigation into the relations of the companies named in the [commission's] report," ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said, adding that the authenticity of some documents appeared questionable. Kamynin said Russia had cooperated with the Volcker Commission since its inception, and even established a working group to handle relations with the UN investigative body. "Three rounds of mandatory consultations with the commission's Moscow representatives have been held," he said. "During these meetings the commission was fully informed about Russia's involvement in a UN former humanitarian program in Iraq." The commission, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said more than 2,000 firms linked to the UN Oil-for-Food program which ran from 1996 through 2003, were involved in making illicit payments, including bribes and kickbacks, to Saddam Hussein's regime in exchange for oil export quotas. "In our opinion, the Oil-for-Food program helped to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe for the Iraqi people, notwithstanding some mistakes and errors," Kamynin said.
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