January 29, 2004 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 160

The Beneficiaries of Saddam's Oil Vouchers: The List of 270

January 29, 2004
Jordan, Iraq | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 160

The following report from MEMRI's Baghdad office is a translation of an article which appeared in the Iraqi daily Al-Mada, [1] whichobtained lists of 270 companies, organizations, and individuals awarded allocations (vouchers) of crude oil by Saddam Hussein's regime. The beneficiaries reside in 50 countries: 16 Arab, 17 European, 9 Asian, and the rest from sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.Only a portion of the 270 recipients are listed and identified.


The following points should be taken into consideration:

First, MEMRI is not responsible for the accuracy of the details with regard to the names listed or the amount of oil granted.

Second, all names listed in the original were in Arabic. Some of those are transliterated into English phonetically, and may not be precise.

Third, denials by those whose names appear in this dispatch are footnoted.

Fourth, the issuing of vouchers by Saddam's regime may have served two primary purposes:

A: Payments in the form of bribes to individuals and organizations for their support of the regime.

B: Vouchers may have been issued to pay for goods and services that fell under U.N. Security Council sanctions and could not be financed under the "Oil for Food" program. Goods may have included military equipment or military parts, luxury automobiles that Saddam distributed as gifts inside and outside Iraq, and general luxury goods for the benefit of high-ranking officials in the Ba'ath party and government.

Fifth, the voucher recipients sold the vouchers to oil traders, who then collected the oil against the vouchers from the Kirkuk-Banias (Syria) pipeline terminal, which was operating in contravention of the Security Council sanctions. The pipeline carried 200,000 barrels per day of Iraqi oil, which benefited Syria greatly.

Al-Mada's Article

The following are excerpts from the article:

"Under this professional and electrifying title, there are names that have nothing to do with oil companies, or the distribution, storage, and marketing of oil. They are not known for having any interest in oil or any links to oil companies, such as the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Communist Party.

"As far as the individuals, the situation is even more puzzling. We can understand that the journalist Hameeda Na'Na',who defended the former regime, was trying to perpetuate her independent journalistic endeavor through an oil deal, but it is strange to find the names of Khaled,son of the late Gamal Abd Al-Nasser,in those lists, or Toujan Al-Faisal, former member of the Jordanian parliament, or the present Indonesian president, or the son of the Syrian defense minister, or the son of the Lebanese president."

Saddam's Exploitation of U.N. Sanctions

"Since the deposed regime endorsed the 'Memorandum of Understanding,' also known as 'oil for food [program],' it turned it into a despicable political and commercial game, and used it to finance its clandestine acquisitions of arms, expensive construction materials for the presidential palaces and mosques, and frivolous luxury items. It turned the oil sales agreements into the greatest bribery operation in history, buying souls and pens, and squandering the nation's resources.

"Since then, rumors were abound about vouchers that Saddam gave to certain Arab and foreign dignitaries, providing them with crude oil in exchange for their support to the regime in a period of international isolation, and as a way to finance the campaign to lift the economic sanctions against it and to whitewash its image.

"However, the regime itself tarnished the moral and humane ethics of the international campaign to lift the unjust sanctions, because by the end of the day the sanctions did not harm it [the regime], but harmed our poor people and the middle class. We saw that whenever the international campaign to lift the sanctions got closer to its goals, the regime – by its behavior and insolence – shoved it again into a dark tunnel, and at the same time turned our country into a free-for-all richly loaded dining table, awaiting a stream of hearty eaters and obedient servants.

"One of the traits of our country's fascist regime is that it lacked decency and was always in need to use others in order to feel superior. Therefore, it corrupted even those who had good intentions and noble goals when defending the Iraqi people and trying to lift the siege imposed on it. The regime was versed only in the politics of the 'open wallet,' and therefore surrounded itself with people that it could co-opt and people who would panhandle for it, so that it could feel moral superiority over them.

"And if one happened to know some of the official Ba'athists, who did not hesitate - because of their rural values - to boast and to [assume] moral superiority, one would have heard a lot from them about the ever-increasing number of visitors to Iraq in recent years, and would have understood from them that those visitors who came to defend us also came to cash in the price for that. We can confirm this information because the Ba'athists themselves, in a moment of 'rural pompousness,' propagated the rumors about the Arab and foreign visitors. They mentioned some of the names listed here, among them George Galloway, member of the [British] Labor party.

"The case of Mr. Galloway is truly distressing. This man, who defended just Arab causes, became a loser as he got closer to the Iraqi regime. Galloway, who was banished from the party for this reason and who defended himself vehemently, and even attacked Tony Blair's and Bush's policies, will not be able - in my opinion - to refute Iraqi documents that incriminate him conclusively.

"In addition to the lists mentioned above, Al-Mada also obtained six requests from the executive director and the associate executive director of the Oil Marketing Company to the Oil Minister 'to approve the crude oil agreements.' All of them mentioned the name of Mr. Galloway, not as a party in the agreement, but as a recipient, since Mr. Galloway hides behind a company that does not carry his name nor his nationality.

"The manner by which these agreements were struck sheds light on the process of awarding the vouchers and the goodwill of the President of the Republic [Saddam]. That is why we wish to decipher it, especially since the lists include some individual names such as 'Samir,' and no one knows whether it belongs to an individual or to a company."

The List

The following is a partial list and description of individuals and organizations that MEMRI has been able to identify: [2]

Canada: Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of the Calgary-based Oilexco company, received 1 million barrels of oil.

United States: Samir Vincent received 10.5 million barrels. In 2000, Vincent, an Iraqi-born American citizen who has lived in the U.S. since 1958, organized a delegation of Iraqi religious leaders to visit the U.S. and meet with former president Jimmy Carter. Shaker Al-Khafaji,the pro-Saddam chairman of the 17th conference of Iraqi expatriates, received 1 million barrels.

Great Britain: George Galloway received 1 million barrels. Fawwaz Zreiqat received 1 million barrels. Zreiqat also appears in the Jordanian section as having received 6 million barrels. The Mujahideen Khalq [3] in Britain received 1 million barrels.

France: The French-Arab Friendship Association received 15.1 million barrels. Former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua received 12 million barrels. [4] Patrick Maugein of the Trafigura company received 25 million barrels. Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club, received 17.1 million barrels.

Switzerland: Glenco Re, the largest commodity trader in Switzerland, received 12 million barrels. Taurus, which has been associated with Iraq for 20 years and was the first company to renew its business with Iraq after the fall of Saddam, received 1 million barrels. Petrogas, which is listed under three sub-companies – Petrogas Services, Petrogas Distribution, and Petrogas Resources - and is associated withthe Russian company Rosneftegazetroy, received 1 million barrels. Alcon, listed in Lichtenstein and associated with larger oil companies, received 1 million barrels. Finar Holdings, which is listed in Lugano, Switzerland, and is under liquidation, received 1 million barrels.

Italy: The Italian Petrol Union received 1 million barrels.West Petrol, an Italian company that trades crude oil and oil products, received 1 million barrels. Roberto Formigoni, possibly the president of Lombardia, received 1 million barrels. Salvatore Nicotra, a former NATO pilot who became an oil merchant, received 1 million barrels.

Spain: Basem Qaqish, a member of the Spanish Committee for the Defense of the Arab Cause, received 1 million barrels. Ali Ballout, a pro-Saddam Lebanese journalist, received 1 million barrels. Javier Robert received 1 million barrels.

Yugoslavia: Four Yugoslav political parties received vouchers: the Yugoslav Left party received 9.5 million barrels. The Socialist Party received 1 million barrels. The Italian Party received 1 million barrels. A nother party, whose name in exact transliteration is "kokstuntsha" – possibly Kostunica's party – received 1 million barrels.

Other political parties: The Romanian Labor Party received 5.5 million barrels. The Party of the Hungarian Interest received 4.7 million barrels. The Bulgarian Socialist Party received 1 2 million barrels. The Slovakian Communist Party received 1 million barrels.

Austria: The Arab-Austrian Society received 1 million barrels.

Brazil: The 8th of October Movement, a Brazilian Communist group, received 4.5 million barrels. Fuwad Sirhan received 10 million barrels.

Egypt: Khaled Gamal Abd Al-Nasser, son of the late Egyptian president, received 16.6 million barrels. 'Imad Al-Galda, a businessman and a member of the Egyptian parliament from President Mubarak's National Democratic Party, received 14 million barrels. Abd Al-Azim Mannaf, [5] editor of the Sout Al-Arab newspaper, received 6 million barrels. Muhammad Hilmi, editor of the Egyptian paper Sahwat Misr, [6] received an undisclosed number of barrels. The United Arab Company received 6 million barrels. The Nile and Euphrates Company received 3 million barrels. The Al-Multaqa Foundation for Press and Publication received 1 million barrels. [7]

Libya: Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem received 1 million barrels.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Chad's foreign minister received 1 million barrels. [8] Four South Africans are listed: Tokyo Saxville received 4 million barrels. Montega received 4 million barrels. Both are associated with the African National Party.

Palestinians: The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) received 4 million barrels. The PLO Political Bureau received 5 million barrels. Abu Al-Abbas received 11.5 million barrels. Abdallah Al-Horani received 8 million barrels. The PFLP received 5 million barrels. Wafa Tawfiq Al-Sayegh received 4 million barrels.

Oman: The Al-Shanfari group received 5 million barrels.

Syria: Farras Mustafa Tlass, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, received 6 million barrels. 'Audh Amourah received18 million barrels. Ghassan Zakariya received 6 million barrels. Anwar Al-Aqqad received 2 million barrels. Hamida Na'Na', the owner of the Al-Wafaq Al-Arabi periodical, received 1 million barrels.

Lebanon: The son of Lebanese President Emil Lahoud received 4.5 million barrels. Former MP Najjah Wakim received 3 million barrels. Nasserist Party head Osama M'arouf received 3 million barrels. National Arabic Club Chairman Faisal Darnika received 3 million barrels.

Jordan: Former Islamist MP and head of the Engineers Union Leith Shbeilat [9] received 15.5 million barrels. Former MP and Jordanian Writers Union head Fakhri Qi'war received 6 million barrels. [10] Former Jordanian chief of staff Mashhour Haditha received 1 million barrels. Former MP Toujan Al-Faisal received 3 million barrels. [11] The Jordanian Ministry of Energy received 5 million barrels. Muhammad Saleh Al-Horani, the Amman Stock Exchange head and former Minister of Supplies, received 4 million barrels. Lawyer Wamidth Hussein Al-Majali received 6 million barrels. [12]

Qatar: Qatari Horseracing Association Chairman Hamad bin Ali Aal Thani received 14 million barrels. Gulf Petroleum received 2 million barrels.

The Indian Congress Party received 1 million barrels.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Megawati received 1 million barrels as "the daughter of President Sukarno," and 1 million barrels as Megawati.

Myanmar: Myanmar's Forestry Minister received 1 million barrels.

Ukraine: The Social Democratic Party received 1 million barrels. The Communist Party received 6 million barrels. The Socialist Party received 1 million barrels. The FTD oil company received 1 million barrels, as did other Ukrainian companies.

Belarus: The Liberal Party received 1 million barrels. The Communist Party received 1 ton [sic] of oil. The director of the Belarussian president's office received 1 million barrels.

Russia: The Russian state itself received 1,366,000,000 barrels. The list also included the following:

Companies belonging to the Liberal Democratic Party received 79.8 million barrels - t he list notes the name of party president Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The Russian Communist Party received 1 million barrels. The Lukoil company received 63 million barrels. The Russneft company received 35.5 million barrels. Vladimir Putin's Peace and Unity Party received 34 million barrels - the list notes the name of party chairwoman Saji Umalatova. The Gazprom company received 26 million barrels. The Soyuzneftgaz company received 25.5 million barrels - t he list notes the name Shafrannik. The Moscow Oil Company received 25.1 million barrels. The Onako company received 22.2 million barrels. The Sidanco company received 21.2 million barrels. The Russian Association for Solidarity with Iraq received 12.5 million barrels. The Ural Invest company received 8.5 million barrels. Russneft Gazexport received 12.5 million barrels. The Transneft company received 9 million barrels. The Sibneft company received 8.1 million barrels. The Stroyneftgaz company received 6 million barrels. The Russian Committee for Solidarity with the People of Iraq received 6.5 million barrels - the list notes the name of committee chairman Rudasev. The Russian Orthodox Church received 5 million barrels. The Moscow Science Academy received 3.5 million barrels. The Chechnya Administration received 2 million barrels. T he National Democratic Party received 2 million barrels. The Nordwest group received 2 million barrels. The Yukos company received 2 million barrels. One Russian company which phonetically reads as Zarabsneft received 174.5 million barrels. Vouchers were also granted to the Russian foreign ministry, one under the name of Al-Fayko for 1 million barrels, and one to Yetumin for 30.1 million barrels. T he Mashinoimport Company received 1 million barrels. The Slavneft Company received 1 million barrels. The Caspian Invest Company (Kalika) received 1 million barrels. The Tatneft Tatarstan company received 1 million barrels. The Surgutneft company received 1 million barrels. Siberia's oil and gas company received 1 million barrels.

In addition, the son of the former Russian Ambassador to Iraq received 19.7 million barrels. Nikolay Ryjkov, a former prime minister of the USSR, received 13 million barrels. The Russian President's office director received 5 million barrels.

Oil vouchers were also distributed to companies and individuals from the Sudan, Yemen, Cyprus, Turkey, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, the UAE, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Panama, Thailand, Chad, China, Nigeria, Kenya, Ireland, Bahrain, and the Philippines. Two Saudi companies were also listed.

[1] Al-Mada (Baghdad), January 25, 2004. Al-Mada is an independent daily, published in Baghdad. Fakhri Karim is the Editor-in-Chief.

[2] More details about sources of organizations and individuals listed will appear in a forthcoming report.

[3] The Mujahideen Khalq is an organization which opposes the Iranian regime. The U.S. government has classified it as a terrorist group.

[4] Mr. Pasqua denied receiving anything from Saddam. Radio France Internationale (RFI), January 27, 2004.

[5] Mr. Manaf states that he has documents which show that he was made an offer but that he declined. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 26, 2004.

[6] Muhammad Hilmi also has a son named "Saddam."

[7] An anonymous official of the Al-Multaqa Foundation stated that the foundation's relations with Iraq were limited to the distribution of its newspaper in Iraq. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 26, 2004.

[8] Chad was mentioned at one time as a possible source of uranium for Iraq.

[9] Shbeilat issued a statement denouncing the publication of the names as an attempt to harm the reputations of nationalists who opposed the invasion of Iraq. Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), January 28, 2004.

[10] Qi'war said: "This has no base in truth. They are merely accusations whose reasons I do not know." Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 26, 2004.

[11] Ms. Faisal maintains that the vouchers were meant for her political friend, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Qatarna, on whose behalf she intervened with the Iraqi authorities. Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), January 28, 2004.

[12] Mr. Majali said the publication about him is false. He said he was a member of a popular committee for the support of Iraq, which provided medicines to Iraq paid for by the members of the committee "from their own pockets." Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 26, 2004.

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