UN oil-for-food probe names 2,200 companies

In a scathing final report documenting massive corruption in the UN oil-for-food program, investigators accused more than 2,200 companies and prominent politicians of colluding with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk the humanitarian operation of $1.8 billion (€1.48 billion). The 623-page document exposed the global scope of a scam that allegedly involved such name-brand companies as DaimlerChrysler and Siemens AG, as well as a former French UN ambassador, a firebrand British politician and the president of Italy's Lombardi region. It meticulously detailed how the $64 billion (€52.76 billion) program became a cash cow for Saddam and more than half the companies participating in oil-for-food - at the expense of Iraqis suffering under UN sanctions. It blamed shoddy UN management and the world's most powerful nations for allowing the corruption to go on for years. The investigators found that companies and individuals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks using a variety of methods, and those paying illegal oil surcharges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries.