Seven Dutch companies to pay fine for bribing Iraqi officials

The Dutch public prosecutor says seven companies have agreed to a pay a fine of €1.3 million for bribing the Iraqi government to secure contracts under the UN Oil-for-Food program during the regime of Saddam Hussein. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor says the companies' agreement to pay the fine implied an admission that they gave kickbacks to Iraqi officials amounting to 10 percent of the contracts they signed. The United Nations initiated the case, and the Netherlands has been investigating it since 2006. The prosecutor's office announced the settlement late Tuesday. The case is unrelated to a current Iraqi suit against US companies for allegedly paying kickbacks in the Oil-for-Food program.