UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- More than half of the 4,500 international companies who took part in the United Nation's oil-for-food program in Iraq paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein.
The claim was made in a U.N. investigative report led by Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. In more than 500 pages, the report outlines the people outside Iraq in 60 countries who profited illicitly and how they did it, the New York Times reported.
Volcker told the newspaper he knew there would be corporate fall-out as a result of publishing the companies' names, but he is most concerned about the need for U.N. reform.
"Even though we are looking at it from the outside, it kind of screams out at you, 'Why didn't somebody blow a whistle?' The central point is that it all adds up to the same story. You need some pretty thoroughgoing reforms at the U.N.," he said.
In the committee's last report in September, it said Saddam received $1.8 billion in illicit income from surcharges and kickbacks on the sale of oil and humanitarian goods during 1996-2003, when the program ran.