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US official says US knew of problems in UN Oil-for-Food program

[JURIST] US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Patrick Kennedy [official profile] told a Senate committee Tuesday that US officials knew of problems in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program [official website] but chose to remain silent. Kennedy said the officials were more concerned with maintaining some form of sanctions on Iraq than with ensuring that those sanctions were air-tight. At the same hearing, Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigation [official website] chairman Norm Coleman presented a document that he alleges shows active corruption on the part of former UN Oil-for-Food director Benon Sevan [official profile]. The Oil-for-Food scandal has plagued the UN in the last several months, with Sevan and several others already facing UN disciplinary charges, although no official finding of bribery or corruption has as yet been made. Read Ambassador Kennedy's official statement [PDF text]. View the webcast of Tuesday's Subcommittee hearing. AP has more.

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