British lawmaker George Galloway has strongly denied accusations that he profited from illicit oil allocations from the former Iraqi regime.
The maverick British member of parliament appeared at a U.S. Senate hearing today focusing on allegations that Saddam Hussein used the U.N. oil-for-food program to reward favored politicians and political parties for support of his regime.
Mr. Galloway said he had not received "a thin dime" from Iraqi oil sales. He told the committee chairman, Republican Senator Norm Coleman, that the panel's investigation into the oil-for-food program was "the mother of all smokescreens" to divert attention from what he termed the disastrous U.S.-led invasion of Iraq which he staunchly opposed.
The Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee says Iraqi leaders funneled discounted oil rights worth millions of dollars to foreign politicians, including Mr. Galloway, and that those involved made profits by reselling the oil at higher prices.
The ranking Minority Democrat on the panel, Senator Carl Levin, said the United States ignored illegal direct oil sales by the former Iraqi regime to Jordan, Syria and Turkey worth more than $8 billion, and on occasion actually facilitated illicit oil sales.
Some information for this report provided by AP.