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UN Oil-for-Food report a "farce" - Russian MP


MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - A senior member of Russia's upper house of parliament has described the findings of an inquiry into alleged mass-scale corruption in the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Program in Iraq as "a farce."

"The groundlessness of many of the accusations, which the investigating panel itself subsequently disproves, is unacceptable in an internationally significant inquiry like this one," Mikhail Margelov, chair of the Federation Council's foreign relations committee, said at a press conference Friday.

The panel, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said more than 2,000 firms linked to the UN Oil-for-Food program were involved in making illicit payments, including briberies and kickbacks, to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in exchange for oil export quotas.

Margelov echoed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by saying that contracts used by the Volcker Commission to incriminate companies and individual officials were forged.

"The fake documents provided to the Russian side cast a shadow on the very process of the investigation, reducing the scandal and the problem to a dubious farce," he said, adding that Russia should not let the inquiry be used as a tool of political pressure.

The Volcker Commission's report, however, will help reconsider the role of international organizations like the UN in the modern-day world and work out an adequate approach to their reform, Margelov said.

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