February 29, 2004

THE BIG HEIST: Roger Simon — who has been following the oil-for-food scandal closely — has some comments on the New York Times story mentioned below:

Let us hope this is only the beginning and I think it is because I suspect from the research revealed in her piece that there is a lot more to come. Good. We’re waiting. Since this may be among the Biggest Heists of All Time, if not the biggest, we need to know as many facts as possible.

He has an interesting proposal about what to do to prevent United Nations corruption in the future, too.

UPDATE: More here, including this spot-on observation:

Obviously, it was those who supported the war to remove Saddam Hussein that could justifiably have used the slogan “no blood for oil” against the opponents.


ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader sends this interesting observation:

The New York Times article this morning on Iraq’s Oil for Food program mentions Glencore but conveniently leaves out that this is the new name for Marc Rich’s Swiss Trading Company. Just Google, Marc Rich + Glencore and look at all the matches. Do you think that the New York Times did not want to mention that the recipient of Clinton’s most famous pardon was buying Iraq oil and kicking back to Saddam?

Hmm. Well, the Times story does say that:

Iraqi records, for example, show that Glencore, a Swiss-based trading company that was one of the most active purchasers of Iraqi crude, paid $3,222,780.70 in surcharges. But the company said in a written statement that “it has at no time made any inappropriate payments to the Iraqi government” and “had no dealings with the Iraqi government outside the U.N. approved oil-for-food program.”

So Glencore’s denying the kickbacks, for what that’s worth. But this story from Forbes seems to indicate that Marc Rich isn’t associated with Glencore anymore:

After more battling, Rich left his namesake firm in 1993, which was later renamed Glencore and remains one of the world’s largest commodity dealers. Rich got back to business in late 1995 with the Marc Rich Group.

So it sounds as if Glencore and Rich no longer have a connection, and haven’t had one for quite a while, which would certainly explain why the Times doesn’t make one. Am I wrong here?

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