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Total cleared in Iraqi oil scandal

July 9, 2013 at 7:46 AM

PARIS, July 9 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said it was cleared by a Parisian court of violating U.N. sanctions during Iraq's controversial oil-for-food program.

A U.N. committee led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker said in 2005 there were thousands of companies allegedly involved in illegal activities tied to the oil-for-food program for Iraq.

The program permitted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to sell oil to purchase food and other humanitarian aid while the country was under international sanctions. The program ended after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Total said Monday the charges against the company, its Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie and five former employers were dismissed by a criminal court in Paris.

De Margerie was facing corruption charges in Paris related to the U.N. relief program for Iraq. He faced a five-year prison sentence and nearly $500,000 in fines for abusing the program.

Iraqi oil production has increased since the end of the U.S.-led incursion in 2011. Ongoing administrative disputes and a high level of violence have curbed the oil sector's potential.

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