Skip to comments.Ex-envoy to U.N. arrested in Iraq scheme
Posted on 10/13/2005 11:10:50 PM PDT by Coleus
French authorities are expected to charge a retired U.N. ambassador today in connection with his role in the U.N. oil-for-food program.
Jean-Bernard Merimee, who represented Paris at the United Nations from 1991 to 1995, was arrested Monday.
He was a senior member of the French diplomatic service, also having served as ambassador to Australia and Italy.
From 1999 to 2002, he worked as a special adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, helping create a system to disburse European Commission payments to the United Nations.
In New York, the French Mission to the U.N. said it would cooperate with any investigation.
"Justice is working," said a French diplomat there. "The judiciary is independent, and if they want anything from us, we are happy to collaborate."
He said the mission had long since returned papers related to Mr. Merimee's U.N. tenure to the national archives.
There have been questions about Mr. Merimee's influence on the Iraq oil-for-food program since his misspelled name turned up on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list that implicated former program chief Benon Sevan. The program was suspended in 2003.
The so-called "Al Mada list,"published in Baghdad nearly two years ago, named foreign diplomats, businessmen and journalists who supposedly had been issued vouchers for discounted oil, which could be resold at a profit to oil companies.
U.S. arms inspector Charles Duelfer noted in his report to Congress last year that Mr. Merimee was allocated 11 million barrels of oil from December 2001 to March 2003, according to Agence France-Presse. However, Mr. Duelfer described the transaction as "not performed," and it was not clear whether Mr. Merimee was a willing participant.
Mr. Merimee, 68, is one of the highest-ranked officials to be indicted by the French judge investigating the oil-for-food scheme.
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
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