France has placed its former ambassador to the United Nations under investigation for alleged involvement in the Iraqi oil-for-food program scandal.

Jean-Bernard Merimee appeared in a Paris court Wednesday to hear accusations of corruption. He was freed on bail.

French judicial officials say Mr. Merimee is suspected of receiving illegal payments from oil sales by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime.

He is one of 10 French officials and business leaders suspected of corruption in the program that allowed Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil to buy food and medicine. U.N. sanctions barred Iraq from regular oil sales.

Mr. Merimee was French Ambassador to the U.N. from 1991 until 1995 and was later an advisor to Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP