US Oil Firms Say Iraqi Purchases Were Legal

Although names of US companies and individuals receiving Iraqi Oil-For-Food vouchers was expunged from public version of Duelfer report, congressional sources reveal their names....

Published: 12-Oct-2004

large American oil companies that received profitable vouchers to buy Iraqi oil under the United Nations' oil-for-food program said yesterday that the purchases complied with U.S. law.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. said that companies they controlled before a series of mergers -- Mobil Export Corp., Chevron and Texaco -- all acted properly when they participated in the program, spokesmen said.

The companies were required to obtain permission from the U.S. government and the United Nations to purchase Iraqi oil under the program. Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Prem Nair said Mobil Export followed that procedure for purchases in 1997 and 1998. A spokesman for ChevronTexaco, Stan Luckoski, said its predecessor companies bought oil "in full compliance with all applicable laws" but could not provide any additional detail.

Those companies, with three U.S. citizens, were among those named in a report released last week by U.S. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer, who concluded that Iraq did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons immediately prior to the U.S.-led invasion. The lengthy report also examined the oil-for-food program, and included names of companies and individuals around the world that traded in Iraqi oil. In most instances, however, the names of the U.S. companies and citizens were expunged from the version of the report that was released publicly. Officials said they did so because of privacy laws.

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