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Swedish prosecutors to investigate oil-for-food scandal
www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-03 23:47:03

    STOCKHOLM, Jan. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Swedish companies accused of paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime are to be investigated by Swedish prosecutors, Radio Sweden reported on Tuesday.

    The alleged payments, implicating some of Sweden's best-known companies, involve the UN oil-for-food program in the 90's.

    Heading the investigation, Sweden's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Christer van der Kwast said he would look into "everything that could be considered relevant and which has a Swedish link that makes it possible to prosecute in Sweden."

    He revealed that both companies and individuals could be charged with breaking international sanctions or bribery.

    The investigation will focus on companies named in last October's United Nations report on the scandal.

    Among the Swedish companies named in that report were bus and truck maker Volvo AB and engineering company Atlas Copco AB, according to the public broadcaster.

    The oil for food program was founded in 1996 to allow Saddam Hussein's regime to sell oil, with the condition that the money be used to buy food, medicine and other essential supplies.

    Volvo, which sold its car division to Ford in 1999, said in October that its agent in Iraq had made payments to authorities there under the oil-for-food program but that it did not consider it bribery. Atlas Copco has denied wrongdoing. Enditem

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