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November 7, 2005

GERMAN: Prosecutors investigate DaimlerChrysler employee

German prosecutors are investigating a former DaimlerChrysler employee to see if he violated sanctions against Iraq during the UN's oil-for-food programme, officials told Reuters on Monday.

German prosecutors are investigating a former DaimlerChrysler employee to see if he violated sanctions against Iraq during the UN’s oil-for-food programme, officials told Reuters on Monday.

Stuttgart prosecutors reportedly said they had opened the probe based on the findings of a United Nations report last month that named the car maker as one of thousands of companies which paid bribes to Saddam Hussein’s government.

At issue is whether the sale of a truck to Iraq violated German laws restricting exports.

“There is suspicion that approval for the export was obtained by fraud because a special payment of 13,589.50 marks was not declared,” the prosecutors said in a statement cited by the news agency.

The UN report cited a payment worth $7,134, Reuters said.

Reuters noted that DaimlerChrysler has said in the past it was co-operating with investigations of the oil-for-food programme but has declined further comment.

The UN survey said more than half the firms doing business with Iraq wittingly or unwittingly fed Saddam’s need for cash through straight bribes or surcharges on oil sales, the report added.

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