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Former UN Secretary-General Linked to Oil-for-Food Scandal


Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has come under fire for his role in the oil-for-food scandal.

A 219-page interim report issued Wednesday by an independent commission raises doubts over Mr. Boutros-Ghali's selection of the bank that handled the money from the sale of Iraqi oil. Under U.N. rules, competitive bidding to the "lowest acceptable bidder" is required.

The French bank BNP was selected but did not have the lowest offer among four banks that bid for the oil-for-food contract.

When asked why he selected BNP, Mr. Boutros-Ghali told the commission it was the bank the Iraqis wanted.

The report was also highly critical of the U.N.'s former chief of the oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan. His name is linked to AMEP, an oil company run by his friend, Fakhry Abdelnour, who is the cousin of Mr. Boutros-Ghali. The company made $1.5 million under the humanitarian program.

In an interview with the New York Times Thursday, Mr. Boutros-Ghali called commission investigators "ignorant" and the allegations "silly."

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