Iraq loses oil-for-food case

Feb. 7, 2013 at 6:44 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government can't pursue violations of the U.N. oil-for-food program in U.S. courts for actions outside the United States, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein dismissed charges filed by the Iraqi government against engineering company ABB AG, which has headquarters in Switzerland. Baghdad in a 2008 case filed in federal court in New York alleged that ABB was responsible for losses of more than $7 billion worth of goods under the oil-for-food program.

Stein dismissed claims files under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Act.

"The scheme described by Iraq is primarily foreign, focused on a multinational organization, engineered by a foreign government, and concerned with Iraqi oil, goods and contracts," Stein was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying. "Applying the RICO statute to these allegations would be applying the statute to extraterritorial conduct, which is not permitted."

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

The program allowed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein 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.

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