Follow the Money

Claudia Rosett has new data on Kofigate:

We need no longer wonder which Russian company got the contracts, on the eve of war, in February 2003, to sell broadcasting gear to Saddam, or for how much. The U.N. list says Nord Star, from which Saddam–approved directly by Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office, in the name of relief, in the thick of the U.N. debate over Iraq–ordered up $3.4 million worth of TV studio equipment. Or, if one wants to admire the versatility of Saddam’s Russian suppliers, it’s now clear it wasn’t just one Russian oil firm, Zarubezhneft, that made a sideline out of selling milk to Saddam. In late 2002, Russia’s Kalmyk Oil & Gas Co. did a deal to supply Iraq with $1 million worth of “instant full cream milk powder.”

And, if anyone has been wondering exactly which nameless Saudi supplier backed out of a $5 million contract to sell vegetable ghee to Iraq when the U.N., post-Saddam, began renegotiating a kickback surcharge of some 10% out of the remaining Oil for Food contracts, the name on the U.N. list is the Al Riyadh International Flower Co. (Which, by the way, turned up last year on a Pentagon list of Oil for Food suppliers overpaid by Saddam, with overpricing in Al Riyadh’s case estimated at about 20%, and total overpayment on three contracts estimated at $8.6 million.)

Most disturbing is what we don’t know, thanks to accounting methods — as yet impossible to decypher — used by the UN to hide who got what, for what.

Full details, and lack thereof, here.