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Oil Firms' Records Subpoenaed

U.S. seeks files from Exxon, ChevronTexaco and Valero in probe of U.N. program in Iraq.

June 19, 2004|From Associated Press

Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. confirmed Friday that they had been subpoenaed for records related to a United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is investigating alleged improprieties in the program.

A spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil said the subpoena covered only documents related to the program and did not accuse the Irving, Texas-based oil giant of wrongdoing.

"We are in receipt of the subpoena, and we are responding accordingly," Prem Nair said.

Exxon Mobil declined to say when it received the subpoena.

At ChevronTexaco, "we have received a request for information from the U.S. attorney," said Jeff Moore, a spokesman for the San Ramon, Calif.-based company. "We are cooperating."

San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. was a major buyer of Iraqi oil under the U.N. program.

"We intend to cooperate fully with the investigation," spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown said.

The U.N. program was designed to help provide food and medical supplies to Iraqis after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Proceeds from limited oil sales were supposed to help ease the effect of U.N. sanctions against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Allegations of corruption surfaced when an Iraqi newspaper published a list of about 270 former government and U.N. officials, activists and journalists suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales under the food program.

The investigative arm of Congress reported in March that Hussein's government skimmed $10.1 billion from the program from 1997 to 2002. The program was shut down last year.

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