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Va. Firm Admits Making Oil-for-Food Payoffs to Iraq

October 21, 2005|From Reuters

NEW YORK — A Virginia oil trading company pleaded guilty to scheming to pay more than $400,000 in kickbacks to Iraqi officials for oil it purchased under the U.N. oil-for-food program, the Manhattan district attorney said Thursday.

Midway Trading, a Reston-based firm, agreed to pay a $250,000 fine after admitting to first-degree grand larceny in a plea deal reached Wednesday, Dist. Atty. Robert Morgenthau said at a news conference.

Morgenthau said the kickbacks were paid in 2001 to Iraqi officials in Tikrit, hometown of Saddam Hussein, who was then president of Iraq. Midway agreed to pay the kickbacks only after Iraq refused to load the oil unless the money was provided, the district attorney's office said.

The oil-for-food program allowed Hussein to sell oil to buy civilian goods to ease the impact of United Nations economic sanctions on ordinary Iraqis.

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