French court clears Total of corruption charges

A French court has cleared oil company Total, its chief executive and over a dozen other defendants of corruption charges related to the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq.  The company had been accused of bribing Iraqi officials to secure oil supplies while Saddam Hussein was in power.  

The UN programme permitted Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil in return for humanitarian supplies.  Prosecutors had accused Total of  circumventing a UN embargo against Iraq by using intermediaries between 2000 and 2002 to pay surcharges for oil, helping Saddam Hussein's government to raise money illicitly.  

But the court in Paris ruled on Monday that there had been no corruption, influence-peddling or misuse of  assets by the company during the programme, which ran from 1996 to 2003.

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