Oil Spill

Some folks are anxious to get the United Nations (search) back into Iraq, even if U.N. personnel don’t want to go back. But first, we may want to clear up a little matter of several billion dollars in Iraqi oil money that the U.N. seems to have misplaced.

The Wall Street Journal’s Claudia Rosett appears to be the only journalist still trying to follow the money trail of the U.N.’s oil for food program, which was massively abused by Saddam Hussein to line his pockets and pay off his friends.

In just one of the many accounting discrepancies discovered by Ms. Rosett, there’s a question of how much Iraqi oil money was being held in bank accounts controlled by the U.N.

The head of the U.N. program, Benon Sevan, no longer talks to the press. But shortly before he went underground, he talked to Ms. Rosett about these mysterious bank accounts:

“He told me the Oil-for-Food accounts at that point contained balances of about $20 billion. The next day, someone in his office revised that down to about $15 billion. Later that afternoon, someone in the UN controller's office revised that down to $9 billion. When I protested that these discrepancies were getting large, we ended up haggling over the phone for a while, and finally settled on an official total of about $12 billion in the Oil-for-Food accounts.”

That’s the U.N. And that’s the Asman Observer.

David Asman joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as host of "Forbes on FOX," a weekend half-hour program that offers an informative look at the business week (Saturday from 11:00-11:30 AM/ET). Asman is also an anchor on FOX Business Network, where he co-hosts "After the Bell" (4-5 PM/ET) with anchor Melissa Francis.