...and for all of the wrong reasons. Not exactly the first name you'd think of in the oil-for-food scandal, but I find it humorous that after being pardoned a full month he was back at it again....
Originally posted by Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz for ABC News, 12/1/04Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.
And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts.
"Without that kind of middleman, the system would not work because the major oil companies did not want to deal with Iraq because there was a mandated kickback," said human rights investigator John Fawcett.
Another broker was New York oil trader Ben Pollner, head of Taurus Oil, who investigators say handled several billion dollars worth of the transactions now under investigation.
Pollner told ABC News he paid no bribes or kickbacks to the Iraqi regime.
Rich is still living in Switzerland and unavailable for comment.
The roles of several American oil companies, including ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil, are also under investigation. ChevronTexaco received subpoenas requesting information for two separate grand jury proceedings, and said they were cooperating fully with both investigations.
The U.N. oil-for-food corruption scandal only continues to grow in scope. Today, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who is leading the congressional investigation into the program, said that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan should resign because the scandal occurred on his watch.
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Also there seems to be another "credible" threat, looming. How much stock can we really put into the government's warnings if they can't even track down a couple of men? I really don't know. But times surely have changed.