US oil man jailed for Iraq bribes
A US oil executive has been jailed for two years for paying bribes worth millions of dollars to the government of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. ( BBC )
David Chalmers, the head of Bayoil Inc, paid bribes from 2000 to 2003 to gain access to Iraqi crude oil being sold under the UN oil-for-food programme.
The $60bn UN programme allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy civilian goods to ease the impact of UN sanctions.
A number of people have been convicted of abuses linked to the UN initiative.
Last year, Benon Sevan, the former director of the scheme set up because of international sanctions imposed on Iraq after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, was charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Chalmers pleaded guilty last August to wire fraud charges related to the payments.
US District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan also fined Chalmers $9m. His Texas-based company Bayoil USA and Bahamas-based Bayoil Supply & Trading Ltd were both put on probation for three years.
However, thanks to the deal struck when he pleaded guilty, Chalmers avoided a much heftier prison sentence, which could have amounted to as much as 62 years
Chalmers apologised in court saying he felt "heavy, heavy guilt".
"I didn't think through all the consequences at the time and I'm sorry," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. "In my heart, I should have known it was wrong."