UK Politics

“False and Misleading Testimony”

Ex Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Tariq Aziz has grassed on George Galloway to the US Senate Subcommittee investigating the oil for favours scandal.

Aziz states:

Mr Galloway asked him for political funding in allocations in the name of Mr Zureikat. The Senate report shows that Mr Zureikat received $740,000 from Taurus Petroleum on July 27, 2000, as commission for its purchase of 2,645,068 barrels of oil.

Galloway denied he had reveived a single cent of the money before the Senate back in May:

The report then reproduces money-transfer documents from Citibank showing that Mr Zureikat sent Mr Galloway’s wife $150,000 on August 3, 2000. They conclude that the amount was “largely” Oil-for-Food money because Mr Zureikat’s account contained $848,683 at the time, only $38,000 of which did not come from the programme.

Galloway denies the latest evidence:

“I’ve already comprehensively dealt with these allegations — under oath in the High Court and the US Senate — to the Charity Commission and in innumerable media inquiries.”

That might have been a mistake:

Senator Coleman said. “We take very seriously the importance of testifying honestly before this committee . . .” he said. “We will forward matters relating to Galloway’s false and misleading statements to the proper authorities here and in Great Britain.”

A Senate aide said that Mr Galloway would be referred to the Justice Department for investigation of possible perjury, false statement and obstruction of a congressional proceeding — all “Class A” felonies carrying a sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine.

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Harry adds:

Here are the latest charges from the sub-committee:

Since the May hearing, the Subcommittee has obtained further evidence establishing that the Hussein regime granted oil allocations to Galloway and his political organization, the “Mariam Appeal.” The Subcommittee report reveals that British MP George Galloway made false or misleading statements before the Subcommittee on May 17, 2005. Specifically, evidence gathered by the Subcommittee reveals:

* Galloway personally solicited and was granted eight oil allocations totaling 23 million barrels from the Hussein government from 1999 through 2003;

* Galloway’s wife, Dr. Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one allocation of oil;

* Galloway’s political campaign, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000 in connection with several allocations granted under the Oil-for-Food Program;

* Illegal “surcharge” payments in excess of $1.6 million were paid to the Hussein regime in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal; and

* Galloway knowingly made false or misleading statements under oath before the Subcommittee at its hearing on May 17, 2005.

The findings revealed in the Subcommittee’s report have been substantiated by personal interviews with high-level members of the Hussein regime, oil traders with personal knowledge of Galloway’s involvement, and extensive bank records that provide a conclusive paper trail and corroborate Galloway’s personal knowledge and involvement in the Oil-for-Food scandal.

Galloway is denying these charges:

Mr Galloway said last night: “There is not a shred of truth in any of these allegations. There has been no impropriety and I have not received even one thin dime from the oil-for-food programme.”

For some reason, The Daily Telegraph is going big on this story:

For the first time we have some details of bank account movements:

Between Aug 31 and Oct 21 2000, five shipments of oil totalling 2,645,068 barrels were “lifted” by Taurus.

A month before the shipments began, the Swiss firm had transferred $740,000 to Mr Zureikat’s Citibank account as a commission payment. It arrived on July 27.

A week after the Taurus payment, Mr Zureikat allegedly initiated a series of large payments around the world.

On Aug 3 2000, he sent $340,000 to the Mariam Appeal, a charity established to help an Iraqi girl suffering from cancer but which later became a radical campaigning organisation. It was established by Mr Galloway, employed his wife and later involved Mr Zureikat.

On the same day he paid $150,000 to Mrs Galloway’s account with the Arab Bank in the Jordanian capital Amman. After commission, she received $149,980.

A week later, on August 11, Mrs Galloway transferred $24,950 to her Co-Operative Bank account in London.

The report notes that of the $848,000 in Mr Zureikat’s Citibank account, more than $810,000 came from oil-for-food profits and concludes: “[The] transfer to Galloway’s wife must have contained oil-for-food related money. The overwhelming balance of that balance was directly related to oil transactions.”

Asked whether she had benefited in any way from oil sales, Mrs Galloway told the Senate she had “never solicited or received” any proceeds of oil sales on her own behalf or her husband’s.

Other payments allegedly made by Mr Zureikat on Aug 3 2000 included $15,000 to the Bank of Scotland account of Mr Galloway’s spokesman Ron McKay.

Here is McKay’s response:

Speaking from Mr Galloway’s office in London, Mr McKay said: “Let me make it clear, I have never received, solicited or had any benefits from oil dealings, neither have I acted as a conduit or go-between in any siphoning of money.”

He described the figure of $15,666 transferred by Fawaz Zureikat to a Bank of Scotland account in the name of Ron McKay, as a “paltry” sum. He said he was not aware of the alleged payment, adding: “It doesn’t ring any bells”.

However, he confirmed that he had been involved in “various business dealings” with Mr Zureikat.

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