Galloway may face serious fraud office investigation

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Galloway may face serious fraud office investigation

Postby emad » Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:28 pm

<br><br>David Leigh and Rob Evans<br>Wednesday January 25, 2006<br>The Guardian <br><br><br>George Galloway faces the prospect of a criminal investigation into his activities by the serious fraud office, which has collected evidence relating to the oil-for-food corruption scandal in Iraq.<br><br>A four-strong SFO team returned from Washington with what a source close to US investigators calls "thousands of documents" about the scandal. The team is expected to produce, within the next four weeks, a report for the SFO director, Robert Wardle, as to whether a full criminal investigation should be mounted into UK individuals and companies involved, including Mr Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.<br><br>The SFO is following up two official reports published before Christmas in Washington, which detailed banking evidence that Mr Galloway's wife and his political campaign organisation both received large sums from Saddam Hussein, laundered through under-the-counter oil allocations.<br><br>Mr Galloway is unaware of the SFO's activities. He is in the Channel 4 TV show Celebrity Big Brother and cut off from outside contact. He is expected to be evicted from the Big Brother house tonight.<br><br>In addition to the SFO's moves, the high court will hear the result of an appeal this morning by the Daily Telegraph against Mr Galloway's £150,000 libel award against the newspaper. In 2003, the newspaper accused him of taking cash from Saddam. Mr Galloway's lawyers were tight-lipped last night over the appeal ruling. If the paper fails today, it may take its case to the Lords, facing the MP with further potential costs in a case where legal fees already exceed £1m.<br><br>In turn, today's Telegraph appeal verdict could relaunch a parliamentary investigation into allegations that Mr Galloway broke House of Commons rules by failing to declare benefits he received from the Saddam regime. Mr Galloway persuaded Sir Philip Mawer, parliamentary commissioner for standards, to suspend his investigation because of the litigation.<br><br>Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Sir Philip said: "Once the verdict is known, the commissioner will take fresh legal advice on how best to proceed." The SFO's documents include bank records obtained by a Senate committee. Other Iraqi oil ministry documents have been obtained by the Volcker report into misuse of oil allocations.<br><br>Mr Galloway's wife and the MP have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In a previous statement, he said: "I have never seen a barrel of oil, never bought one, never sold one, and neither has anyone on my behalf." His estranged wife, Amineh Abu Zayyad, said: "I have never solicited or received from Iraq or anyone else any proceeds of any oil deals, either for myself or for my former husband."<br><br>According to the US inquiries, big oil traders paid secret commissions in return for acquiring Iraqi shipments, which they frequently sold on to major US oil firms. The reports detail records of one alleged transaction in 2000 in which Taurus Petroleum gave $740,000 to Mr Galloway's agent, the businessman Fawwaz Zureikat.<br><br>Mr Zureikat distributed the cash in several directions. He kept some himself, and passed some over as a kickback to Saddam's regime.<br><br>He also gave $340,000 as a "donation" to Mr Galloway's pro-Iraq campaign, the Mariam Appeal, and another $150,000 to a bank account in Jordan belonging to Mr Galloway's wife. She in turn allegedly transferred $25,000 of that to her own account in London, though she denies the transaction. The Guardian tried to put the SFO allegations to Mr Galloway but Channel 4 refused to pass them on, saying: "We don't pass anything into the house unless something horrible has happened."<br><br>When the Volcker report came out Mr Galloway said: "How many times must I repeat this: I've never had a penny through oil deals and no one has produced a shred of evidence that I have ... A lie doesn't become a truth through repetition."<br><br>Last night a spokesman for Mr Galloway said: "There is no crime to investigate. This is politically motivated, specious, frippery. It is a total waste of public money."<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=",,1694266,00.html">,00.html</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Postby Quentin Quire » Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:43 pm

Galloway won the appeal, although - at the time of writing - he has yet to learn this due to his appearance in Big Brother.<br><br>It seems to me that Galloway is a man with some good ideas and the desire to put them across who's been smeared consistently by the Blairite controlled MSM. <br><br>He is however and egotist and self-publicist whose Big Brother appearance and other self-promotion have severely backfired in relation to the way he's viewed here in the UK. Shame. <p></p><i></i>
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Postby finishedqq » Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:41 pm

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>He is however and egotist and self-publicist <hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br>He's always been like that just like he's always been dodgy when it comes to money, it doesn't matter whether he's been falsely accused this time or not. I wouldn't trust him to be anything apart from smart and devious. <p></p><i></i>
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