Published June 18, 2004
NEW YORK – Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) has received a subpoena from a federal prosecutor regarding the UN-run oil-for-food program in Iraq, the world's No. 1 publicly-traded oil company said on Friday.
The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (search) declined to comment on whether it has opened a probe of the program.
The U.S. Congress, the Iraqi government and the United Nations are already looking into allegations of corruption in the program.
A spokeswoman at Exxon's refining and marketing headquarters in Fairfax, Va., said the subpoena requested documents related to the oil-for-food program. "We are responding appropriately," she said.
She had no further comment.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein (search) last year, documents have been released that indicate bribes and kickbacks were paid to individuals and contracts were skimmed in the now-defunct $67 billion oil-for-food program.
The program began in December 1996 and was meant to ease the impact of 1991 Gulf War sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. The program allowed Iraq to sell oil and buy humanitarian goods under UN supervision.
UN officials said they believed the subpoena to Exxon Mobil was the first indication that the federal prosecutor's office might be looking into the program.
While it was unlikely that Exxon Mobil was a direct buyer of oil from Iraq during the period the oil-for-food program was running, the United States was indirectly one of the biggest purchasers of Iraqi oil during the period, buying the oil through middlemen who dealt directly with Baghdad.
Shares of Exxon were up 14 cents at $44.91 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).