Roger L. Simon

More French Lessons on Oil-for-Food

This blog noted the other day that Gilles Munier, head of the French-Iraqi Friendship Association, was under investigation in the seemingly endless Oil-for-Food Scandal. M. Munier was not alone. Far from it. Now… as has long been rumored…

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.

Their names were all on a list of 11 alleged beneficiaries of the oil allocations which was supplied to Courroye by the UN earlier this year.

It’s worth noting that the UN is now fishing for several hundred million in donations for Pakistani earthquake aid. Anybody concerned about where that might end up?