Gilles Munier free but on bail
The " Oil for Food " affair
Free… but on bail !
Statement by Gilles Munier
Secretary General of the French-Iraq Friendship Organisation
"I pay for my support to the Iraqi people…"
After 60 hours of questioning and police custody, I was charged, on October 6, 2005, by Magistrate Philippe Courroye but released on a bail amounting to 80 000 euros or $ 96 600 which I have to pay in four instalments till February 2006 or be imprisoned. My passport has been withdrawn and I am forbidden to leave France. My lawyer is Maà®tre Jacques Vergà¨s.
Magistrate Philippe Courroye, who originally was investigating alleged misappropriation of funds by the French oil company Total in its commercial transactions with Iraq, has charged me with:
- "passive trading of favours", i.e. to have obtained financial support from Aredio Petroleum Company in order "to defend Iraq interests and secure the lifting of sanctions against Iraq" and
- "corruption of foreign state agents", i.e. to have agreed that said company pay back - which remains to be evidenced- in Iraqi accounts abroad, a portion of the oil transactions in order to receive new oil allocations.
In other words, I am charged with violating UN Resolution 986 which had placed Iraq under embargo. However, no personal enrichment has been held against me. Similarly, I had been questioned by members of the United Nations Commission (Volcker Commission) the week before whose report will be released end of October.
First of all, I have nothing to do with the Oil Company Total S.A. I had in fact reached an agreement on principle with Vice Prime Minister, Tarik Aziz so that the French Oil Company Aredio could lift oil within the framework of the United Nations Program "Oil for Food" provided Aredio received prior clearance from the Embargo Cell of the French Ministry of Defence and from the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations where the Americans had the upper hand.
In return, the Oil Company Aredio pledged to financially back some of our militant activities in relation with the lifting of the embargo or to prevent the US aggression against Iraq. These contributions - after Aredio had obtained the necessary agreement from the United Nations and Somo, (Commercialisation Company for Iraqi Oil)- were made on the sole mark-up of the company and not, as the Americans claim, on the funds allotted to the purchase of food and medicine for the Iraqi people.
As a matter of fact, the price of oil was fixed by the Americans and the sale transactions were held in an escrow account managed by Banque Nationale de Paris in New York, out of reach of the Iraqi leaders. After payments were made out of this account by the United Nations to monitor Iraq and to search for arms of massive destruction and huge compensation paid to Kuwait as war damages, only $1 per person and per month was left for Iraq.
My political commitment
To me, the United Nations resolutions were illegal and tantamount to a genocide. Therefore, any decision taken by the Iraqi government to bypass the embargo and alleviate the sufferings of the people was legitimate. The Iraqi leaders always claimed that they had no arm of massive destruction. As a consequence, I considered it my duty and my right to come to the rescue of the Iraqi people condemned to death as I considered it to be in the interest of France. As I stated to the French police investigators, I do not regret anything and I would do it again…if need be.
My trial must be the trial of the embargo, of the "Oil for Food" Program, of the US aggression against Iraq and the destabilising "Great Middle East" project. It will be another demonstration of my commitment to the resistance of the Iraqi people.
Rennes, October, 16, 2005.