By John Lee.
A Paris court has cleared oil company Total, its chief executive Christophe de Margerie (pictured), and over a dozen other defendants of corruption charges related to the UN’s oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
The former interior minister Charles Pasqua, the Swiss oil trader Vitol, and a former French ambassador to the UN, were also among the 20 defendants acquitted.
They were accused of participating in a corrupt system of bribery, complicity, kickbacks and influence peddling which profited from the international community’s efforts to get humanitarian aid to ordinary Iraqis under Saddam’s rule.
The French trial took place earlier this year after repeated delays and despite the state prosecutor’s office having advised that the case should not go to court. After deliberation, the judges dismissed all corruption charges against all defendants.
(Sources: Guardian, BBC, Bloomberg)