Thursday, April 14, 2005


HatTip to It's finally starting. The long march towards Kofi Annan's family:

A Texas businessman, along with a Bulgarian and a British citizen, were indicted in a scheme to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime as part of the United Nations' scandal-ridden oil-for-food program, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

David B. Chalmers, the businessman, and Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, were arrested Thursday morning at their homes in Houston. U.S. Attorney David N. Kelley said he will seek the extradition from England of a third defendant, John Irving.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court, the defendants were accused of participating in a scheme to pay millions of dollars in secret kickbacks so that oil companies owned by Chalmers could continue to sell Iraqi oil under the oil-for-food program.

The kickbacks involved funds otherwise intended for humanitarian relief, Kelley said in a statement.

A criminal complaint also unsealed Thursday charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean citizen, with conspiracy to act in the United States as an unregistered government agent for the Iraqi government's effort to create the oil-for-food program.

If convicted of the charges, Chalmers, Irving and Dionissiev each could face a maximum of 62 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. The defendants could also be forced to make restitution.

According to the indictment, the government seeks the forfeiture of at least $100 million in assets from the defendants.
(full article)

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