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UK MP Galloway received 18 million barrels of Iraq oil allocations, UN report says

[JURIST] George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, allegedly received an allocation for 18 million barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein through the UN oil-for-food program [official website; JURIST news archive] in exchange for assistance in getting UN sanctions lifted against the former regime, according to the last report [text] released [JURIST report] Thursday by the UN's Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) [official website]. The 500-page document indicates that $445,000 made its way through the Mariam Appeal [charity website], a fund that the MP created for Iraqis with leukemia, which was also used to oppose UN sanctions against Iraq. The current IIC report further alleges that $120,000 from oil revenues were paid to Galloway's soon-to-be ex-wife, Dr. Amineh Abu Zayyad, which is separate from the alleged $150,000 in oil sales paid to Zayyad which was uncovered by a US Senate investigation. Galloway has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, claiming the report is "untrue, unjust, [and] misleading." Reuters has more; from the UK, the Independent has local coverage.

Meanwhile, reactions by the leaders of countries named in the IIC report for wrongdoing have been defensive. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov [official biography] said Friday that many of the documents relied upon by the IIC to implicate senior Russian officials and LUKOIL Oil Company [corporate website] in the oil-for-food scandal were fakes, including the signatures of several Russian officials. Reuters has more. Also, Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] defended the Australian Wheat Board [corporate website] amidst allegations that the wheat exporter provided kickbacks to the Iraqi government, saying he could not "imagine for a moment that they would have knowingly been involved in anything improper." AFP has more.

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