Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Frog Marching French Officials For UNSCAM

Jean-Bernard Merimee, France's former representative at the UN Security Council, was taken into custody by a judge investigating corruption linked to the Iraqi "oil-for-food" programme.

Merimee, 68, was being questioned over allegations he may have benefited from oil allocations granted under the programme by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein between 1996 and 2003.

Merimee was France's UN ambassador from 1991 to 1995. He was then named ambassador to Italy, and from 1999 to 2002 he was a special adviser to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on European issues.

Five people have already been placed under judicial investigation by judge Philippe Courroye in connection with the "oil-for-food" affair.

They are Serge Boidevaix, former secretary-general at the French foreign ministry; businessman Claude Kaspereit; Bernard Guillet, an adviser to former French interior minister Charles Pasqua; Gilles Munier, head of an Iraqi-French friendship society; and Palestinian journalist Hamida Nana.
There are surely more to follow. This investigation is separate from the US investigations, which have brought others under scrutiny, including Kofi and Kojo Annan, Benan Sevan, Vladimir Kuznetsov, and Alexander Yakovlev.

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