Readers may remember the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food Programme, which operated between 1996 and 2003 and permitted Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods despite a U.N. embargo. The Programme became the subject of much criticism that its proceeds went to benefit Iraqi officials instead of the Iraqi people, and a 2005 independent inquiry uncovered a system of bribery and kickbacks.
Well today, French oil company Total, Swiss oil trader Vitol, and 17 other defendants were acquitted by a court in Paris of charges relating to the Oil-for-Food Programme, according to the Swiss Broadcasting System. The defendants had been accused of bribery, complicity and influence peddling. Had the defendants been convicted, Total could have faced fines of up to 1.88 million euros and its charged executives could have faced up to 5 years in prison.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis on the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.–Calvin Coolidge
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