UNITED NATIONS - Fraud in the U.N. oil-for-food scheme for Iraq reached from French politicians to a former Vatican aide and name-brand companies, sending a sobering message about the state of global business, the chief investigator said after publishing his conclusions on what went awry.
"There's a lot of corruption in the world," Paul Volcker told The Associated Press on Thursday, when he released his scathing final report on the 18-month investigation.
The former Federal Reserve chairman's team found that more than 2,200 companies and individuals, or about half of all those involved in the humanitarian program, paid kickbacks and illegal surcharges to win lucrative contracts while Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein pocketed $1.8 billion at the expense of his people who were suffering under U.N. sanctions. . .
The report named some high-profile individuals and companies including a former French interior minister, Charles Pasqua; Rev. Jean-Marie Benjamin, a priest who once worked as an assistant to the Vatican secretary of state and opposed Iraqi sanctions; carmakers DaimlerChrysler AG, Volvo and South Korea's Daewoo International; and industrial giants Siemens AG.
The anti-war folks won't touch this story. They are too busy arguing that Bush deliberately lied about WMD.