French acquittals in Iraq oil-for-food trial

PARIS (AP) — A French court has acquitted oil giant Total SA and a raft of former French officials and executives of corruption-related charges linked to the scandal-ridden U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says everyone facing trial in the high-profile case was acquitted Monday by a Paris court. Prosecutors have up to 10 days to appeal.

Defendants included Total SA, former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, former French diplomats and others. Investigators accused them of getting around a U.N. embargo against Iraq by buying Iraqi oil through front companies, allowing Saddam Hussein’s government to raise money illicitly.

However, Total insisted it was operating according to the rules of the U.N oil-for-food program, which allowed Iraq to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods from 1996 to 2003.

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