Total Under Bribery Investigation

5 April 2010 (Last Updated April 5th, 2010 18:30)

Total has been placed under formal investigation over suspected bribery relating to the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme during Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the company said. A French criminal probe into the eight-year-old case was closed in 2007, and the prosecutor's office

Total has been placed under formal investigation
over suspected bribery relating to the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme during Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the company said.

A French criminal probe into the eight-year-old case was closed in 2007, and the prosecutor's office last year recommended dismissing the case against Total's chief executive and other current and former employees.

But a new investigating magistrate decided in early 2010 to place the company under formal investigation on "bribery charges as well as complicity and influence peddling", Total said in its annual report. However, the company said there is no new evidence "being added to the affair".

"The company believes that its activities related to the Oil-for-Food programme have been in compliance with this programme," Total added.

The UN Oil-for-Food Programme ran from 1996 to allow Iraq to export oil for imports of food and other humanitarian goods to relieve the impact of UN economic sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein's regime, reports Reuters.