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DOJ to announce first criminal charges in connection with UN oil-for-food program

[JURIST] Attorney General John Ashcroft is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon the first charges in the governemnt's investigation into alleged corruption in the UN-administered oil-for-food program [official website]. According to Justice Department sources, Ashcroft will announce a plea agreement with Samir Vincent, an Iraqi-American who headed Phoenix International, one of the companies that purchased Iraqi oil under the program. Vincent is alleged to have personally bought several million barrels of Iraqi oil himself through the program. His plea agreement was reportedly entered earlier today at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. An Independent Inquiry Committee [official website] set up by the UN concluded that the program was mismanaged [JURIST report] but there was no corruption. Under the oil-for-food program, which ran from 1996 to 2003, Saddam Hussein's government was allowed to sell certain amounts of oil despite economic sanctions from the first Gulf War, with revenues being designated for food and other supplies. CNN has more.

2:45 PM ET - AP has more on the DOJ's announcement of the plea agreement.

4:50 PM ET - A copy of the charges against Vincent is now available via FindLaw.

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