Almost one-third of the oil allocations granted under the UN's Iraqi oil-for-food program from 1996 to 2003 went to Russian parties or individuals, according to a US Senate report that was to be released yesterday detailing alleged misuse of the program.
"The allocations awarded to the Russian Presidential Council were part of a larger scheme to influence the policy of the Russian government towards Iraq and UN sanctions," said a summary of the findings of the Senate subcommittee heading the inquiry, chaired by Republican Norm Coleman.
"Massive allocations were also granted to Russian politicians, the pro-Kremlin Unity Party, and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to name but a few," said a summary of the 300-page report detailing Russian involvement in the tainted program.
"Approximately 30 percent of all of the oil sold under the Oil-for-Food Program was allocated to Russia, which is an oil exporting country," the report says.
Tareq Aziz, a former Iraqi deputy prime minister, and Taha Yassine Ramadan, a former vice president, were among regime officials interviewed for the report, with various documents, e-mails, contracts and notes scrutinized.
Among names mentioned was that of Alexander Voloshin, the deposed Kremlin administration chief with strong ties to former leader Boris Yeltsin and ex-administration number three who left office in October 2003.
Voloshin, who was named by Yeltsin to head the Russian administration in 1999, was said to have personally benefited from allocations of five million barrels of oil, as did the Russian Presidential Council, in the same amount.
A close associate of Voloshin, Sergey Issakov, benefited to the tune of 80 million barrels of oil. In all, they took US$3 million worth of profits, according to subcommittee estimates.
Russian ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whose name has already been linked to the scandal by the media, was also said to have benefited from allocations equivalent to 75.8 million barrels from 1997, with profit for himself worth US$8.7 million.