Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

BNP/Paribas, Oil-for-Food and Third Party Payments
Rohrabacher Schedules Thursday Hearing to Examine Bank’s Role in Oil for Food Program
 

BACKGROUND:  The United Nations Oil-for-Food program was – at its root – a financial swindle that enriched former leaders of a corrupt and venal Iraqi regime and a select few international brokers in oil and humanitarian goods. It is widely acknowledged that from its inception in the mid-1990s, the program was structured in ways to bypass international efforts to economically isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein. By inflating the prices that it was willing to pay for humanitarian goods, and then demanding kickbacks from suppliers as a cost of doing business, the regime reaped billions in program funds. The chief bank of the Oil-for-Food program was the American division of BNP/Paribas, a Paris-based banking conglomerate. In testimony given last November during a hearing chaired by U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), the bank acknowledged that, contrary to its contract with the United Nations, it made so-called third party payments to companies not on the approved list of vendors tasked with supplying humanitarian goods to the Iraqi people during the years of international sanctions. The subcommittee will examine why BNP made such payments in violation of its contract with the UN and identify the circumstances and companies involved in such payments. 

WHAT:                      Subcommittee Oversight Hearing: 
           The Role of BNP-Paribas SA (Banque Nationale de Paris) in the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program

          
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations,
          
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman

WHEN:                      2 p.m., Thursday, April 28, 2005

WHERE:                    Room 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:            Everett Schenck, Chief Executive Officer, BNP-Paribas SA of North America;
                                   Patricia Herbert,
Managing Director-in-Charge, Oil-for-Food Program at BNP-Paribas SA;
                                   William Vassallo,
Chief Auditor, BNP-Paribas SA Oil-for-Food Program; and
                                   Harold Lehmann,
Former Director, Trade and Finance at Banque de Nationale de Paris.

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