The Oil-for-Food appeal is being heard in Paris from October 14 to November 6. Although the charges against Total S.A. were dismissed in the lower court, the company is being retried, along with four former Group employees.
The Oil-for-Food program was introduced in 1996 by the U.N. Security Council to ease the hardship caused by the sanctions imposed against Iraq in 1990. The program allowed Iraq to sell its oil subject to specific terms and conditions, with the proceeds deposited to an escrow account used to purchase food, drugs and staples, under the oversight of the United Nations. The program was suspended following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies.
Total is being prosecuted for bribing foreign officials, on the grounds that between 2000 and 2002 it made extra payments to Iraq when purchasing oil, bypassing the U.N. escrow account.
Total will show that it legally purchased Iraqi oil in the market, in compliance with the Oil-for-Food Program rules and with all the required authorizations.