British MP faces further Iraqi oil deal accusations

George Galloway faces fresh allegations of benefiting from Saddam Hussein's regime in a report into corruption in the United Nations' oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

The independent investigation by Paul Volcker has charged that the MP received an allocation of 18 million barrels of oil from the regime. It also claims US$120,000 ($169,856) in revenues from oil sales was paid into the bank account of Galloway's estranged wife.

The money allegedly paid to Amineh Abu Zayyad is a separate sum from the US$150,000 ($212,291) that another investigation, by the United States Senate, claimed she had received from oil sales.

Former Government minister Denis MacShane demanded a joint committee of the House of Commons and US Congress should inquire into the allegations against Galloway.

MacShane, who compared the Respect Party MP to wartime traitor and Nazi propagandist Lord Haw-Haw, maintained that the reputation of the British Parliament was at risk if it failed to carry out a probe.

Volcker refused to comment on whether the alleged transactions detailed in his report could be the basis for legal or disciplinary action against Galloway.

However, he appeared to suggest he had more material regarding Galloway than had been published.

"If the legal authorities in Britain want to discuss with us what other evidence we may have, that may not be in the report, then we would be prepared to co-operate."

Galloway yesterday said he had "never had a penny through oil deals and no one has produced a shred of evidence that I have".


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