Oil for France
Via the excellent Transatlantic Intelligencer:
Former French Ambassador to the UN Jean-Bernard Mérimée is currently under investigation by French judicial authorities for "influencing peddling and corruption of public officials" in connection with the UN Oil for Food program in Iraq.
According to Le Figaro, quoting directly from the transcript of Mérimée's declarations, Mérimée admitted to having received a payment of some $156,000 as part of a transaction in which he served as mediator between the Iraqi authorities represented by Tariq Aziz and the Fenar Petroleum Company based in Liechtenstein. "Jean-Bernard Mérimée attributed Baghdad's generosity to gratitude,"
Before the judge, although contrite, he declared that in his view he had worked for Tariq Aziz and "all effort deserves compensation" [toute peine mérite salaire].
It is also worth noting that, as the investigations of Claudia Rossett have revealed (hat tip: politique arabe de la france), Mérimée served from 1999 until 2002 as a liaison between the European Commission and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, his official title being "Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for European issues". It was during this period that, in his own assessment, he "worked" for the Iraqis.
What a surprise...