Nov 28 2005

Cogema and Oil For Food

Published by at 1:11 am under All General Discussions

Sexion has been asking me to show the connection between Cogema, which is at the center of the uranium trade in Africa, and the Oil For Food scandal where Saddam bribed people and companies in return for who knows what.

I have established the connection. One of the largest French companies implicated in the Oil For Food scandal was oil giant Total:

France’s former U.N. ambassador, Jean-Bernard Merimee, was detained for questioning in Paris in connection with an investigation into corruption in the $64 billion United Nations oil-for-food program, French officials said Tuesday.

A French investigative magistrate, Philippe Courroye, took Merimee into custody Monday to determine why former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s regime granted him rights to purchase about 4.5 million of barrels of Iraqi oil at a discounted price. Merimee, 68, is the most senior former French official to be detained by Courroye during a three-year probe into possible corruption by French officials and companies in Iraq.

Courroye launched an investigation in August 2002 into allegations that a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total laundered money through a Swiss company to pay bribes to officials in Iraq and Russia. But the probe has widened since the collapse of Hussein’s regime produced a trove of Iraqi documents outlining the former regime’s abuses of the oil-for-food program.

Well, Cogema, now Areva Group, is owned primarily by the French government, but italso has private sector owners as well, one of which is Total.

This makes sense since Areva Group is a energy company.

This is from the US Senate Report (page 9):

In particular, SOMO stated that Pasqua’s agent, a man named Bernard Guillet, had declared that Pasqua wanted a Swiss company called Genmar to contract for his allotted oil. Guillet stated that Genmar was their “chosen company.”36 In response, SOMO indicated that, since Pasqua was a “French personality,” it was “essential” that a French company lift his allocations. According to the SOMO letter, Guillet explained that this was “impossible for political reasons.” Guillet also indicated that he had previously “explained the situation to [Deputy Prime Minister] Tariq Aziz.” SOMO then requested that Guillet “provide us with a letter in which Mr. (Charles Pasqua) authorizes (Genmar) company to lift the crude oil.” According to SOMO, Guillet refused to send such a letter, explaining that “they cannot do that fearing political scandals.”37

On June 19, 1999, two days after SOMO’s June 17th letter concerning Pasqua, Tariq Aziz’s staff informed SOMO that Bernard Guillet was the authorized representative of Charles Pasqua:

    Please be informed that Mr. (Bernard Guillet) is the diplomatic and political advisor of Mr. (Charles Pasqua), the French politician and former Minister of the Interior; Mr. Guillet represents Mr. Pasqua in receiving the oil allocation allotted to the latter.

38 That same day, the Executive Director of SOMO and the Oil Minister held a telephone conference to discuss the allocation to Charles Pasqua. The substance of that conference was captured in a follow-up letter from SOMO to the Oil Minister.39 That letter was entitled “The French Personality Charles Pasqua” and states:

    With reference to the telephone conversation with your Excellency this morning, 06/19/1999, the Swiss company Genmar is the authorized company by Mr. Charles Pasqua to lift the quantity allocated to him in phase 6.

SOMO then indicated that it would execute a contract with Genmar for Pasqua’s allocation.


15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Cogema and Oil For Food”

  1. Seixon says:

    I’m still not seeing where Cogema comes into the picture, unless you are implying that it is the subsidiary of TOTAL that was paying bribes through a Swiss company to Iraqi and Russian officials.

    I don’t really see the evidence for that.

    Aredio Petroleum (France) handled oil purchases for both Merimee and Pasqua/Guillet. All its oil went to Taurus Petroleum Ltd, since it was a front company created by a French national and the 2nd in command of Taurus, precisely to get oil for Taurus.

    Taurus was also involved with contracts from Russians.

    Genmar (Switzerland) handled oil purchases for Pasqua and Firzli. All its oil went to TOTAL International Ltd.

    Fenar Petroleum (Lichtenstein/Switzerland) handled oil purchases for Merimee. All its oil went to Taurus Petroleum Ltd, as it was also a front company set up by Taurus just for getting oil from Iraq.

    So where does Cogema figure into all of this?

  2. Seixon says:

    I have found something that pretty much clears this up, and shows that Cogema has nothing to do with this:

    French investigating magistrate Philippe Courroye, who has been probing these payments since 2002, is examining the movements of funds between a Total subsidiary in Bermuda and a Swiss company, Teliac SA. The Swiss firm is alleged to have served as an intermediary for some $20 million in payments by the oil group into offshore accounts in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands between 1996 and 2001. Courroye has not given any details of what oil deals the alleged bribes were linked to. Total’s former head of operations, Jean-Michel Tournier, is alleged to have told the French authorities the company used the Geneva-based firm to pay bribes to ‘certain beneficiaries’ in return for gaining access to reserves in Iraq and Russia.

    The subsidiary?

    In the Nineties, French oil companies Total and Elf-Aquitaine won the rights to develop the $3.4 billion Bin Umar project and the vast Majnoon field in southern Iraq. Total, which acquired Elf, had been unable to exploit these fields while the UN trade embargo against Iraq was still in place.

    Elf-Aquitaine. The connection to Pasqua:

    Among the alleged beneficiaries of the money paid out by Teliac is a Lebanese lawyer close to Saddam’s former deputy, Tariq Aziz. The lawyer has strong connections with Charles Pasqua, the former French Interior Minister who was named last week in the Iraq Survey Group as an alleged beneficiary of the UN’s oil-for-food programme which Saddam used to pay for favours.

    The Lebanese lawyer? Elias Firzli. Firzli received 7 contracts, 3 of which he sold to Genmar Resources gmbh, which then sold the oil to TOTAL.

    Cogema is completely not connected here. Sorry.

    PS. Fun fact: Aredio Petroleum, the front company set up by Taurus to handle oil allocations, was, as I said, co-founded by a French national with a Taurus exec. This French national became the head of this front company, his name is Jean-Loup Michel. His previous employer: Elf-Aquitaine.

    PPS. What a corrupt group of people!!!!

  3. Seixon says:

    On second look, if doesn’t appear that Elf-Aquitaine is the subsidiary they are talking about. Cogema’s not based in Bermuda, though. I can’t figure out what subsidiary they are talking about…

  4. mary mapes says:

    See your last post on this “Contrary”

    The “Oil for Food” angle is unnecessary. French companies may be implicated in Oil for Food, however, uranium in Africa is not so much tied to IRAQ pay-offs but PAY-INS. There was just as much to “PROTECT” in Africa, only Iraq may have been one the the buyers!!!!

    If we take off our “IRAQ was Buying from NIGER” glasses, we see that Engaging Iraq THREATENED to a WHOLE bunch of Buyers and Sellers (and their agents) the END to the “trade”…what ELSE does Africa have to sell?

    Gabon’s Oil done dried up 1998-9-00. Ghana’s Gold seemed promising. Even Gabon’s wood was of no interest…

  5. mary mapes says:

    In other-words, one great by-product of the war was LIGHT GLEAMING on some pretty lucrative business deals that are huge threats to the US, but not necessarily directly tied to “Oil for Food”

    –although they no doubt have their roots entrenched there in a tangled 6-degrees way.

  6. AJStrata says:


    There may be no connection – but then again there may be. Total is a a major owner (not percentage wise) of Cogema/Avera. If the Oil-For-Food payoffs were a way to launder payments for uranium coming out of Africa it all makes sense. I am not saying there is evidence of such acts. But the ownership tree of companies works out so it is possible. Oil profits on these contracts where enormous and more than capable of being payments on the small amount of uranium that we are talking about.

  7. Seixon says:

    Well, for that to be true, Cogema would have to have been based in Bermuda… Which it wasn’t. Otherwise you are just doing a 6-degrees of seperation type of thing, and I’m not quite sure why. I think your time would be much better spent on other things. Such as all the ties with French intelligence and France in the uranium debacle from November onwards….


    What I’d like to know, though, is what ever happened to that case against Total on the charges of bribing Iraqi and Russian officials… It seems as if that case just kind of… disappeared.

  8. AJStrata says:


    I think you are not appreciating how a really good money laundering scheme works. There never should be any connection between the money and the services or goods. If the Oil For Food program was being used to send profits to Total for efforts done by Cogema for Iraq’s WMD needs it is the perfect scheme.

    You wouldn’t want anything tying the two together. Total had the promise of oil rights in Iraq – so there was a potential qui pro quo there. But there is nothing to say that some lose monitoring of abandoned mines or uranium from neighboring countries flowing to Libya through Niger was not a potential qui pro quo as well.

    The oil angle is too obvious for a money laundering scheme.

  9. sbd says:

    Africa News
    March 13, 1998

    LENGTH: 202 words
    HEADLINE: United States and Africa;
    Interview: Joseph Wilson, the US Director of African Affairs

    BYLINE: Addis Tribune (Addis Ababa)
    Addis Ababa — Addis Tribune interviewed Mr. Joseph C. Wilson, special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director of African Affairs.
    Asked why the US President has chosen not to come to Ethiopia, Mr. Wilson said Clinton doesn’t have enough time.
    Ethiopia, as far as the US is concerned, has positive economic reforms, and political liberalisation. This would make it an
    ideal country for a presidential visit; however, Clinton just doesn’t have the time.

    Asked about his impressions of Addis Forum, Mr. Wilson said he was impressed by the large number of interested players. Americans aren’t the only ones who want to deploy international resources to Africa, he noted. People from the Middle East also want to play an important role.

    Prior to his current position, Ambassador Wilson and Political Advisor to the Commander–in–Chief of the US Armed Forces, in Europe, from 1995 to 1997. He is a career member of the Foreign Service and has held a variety of assignments in Africa before serving as the Ambassador to Gabon and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992 to 1995. From 1988 to 1991, Ambassador Wilson served in Baghdad, Iraq, as Deputy Chief of Mission.
    LOAD–DATE: March 13, 1998

    People from the Middle East also want to play an important role.
    I am sure they did and Joe Wilson the traitor was more than willing to help.

  10. Seixon says:

    Alright. I just like having more concrete evidence than that, but I guess in some cases, you will probably never get it. The laundering scheme used by the Oil-For-Food program was pretty good though, until Saddam got rolled up and all his documentation proved everything. Thus I am still wondering what happened to the investigation into Total… maybe it is still ongoing.

  11. MaidMarion says:


    I’ve been trying to follow all your various postings on this…but gotta say that my mind just cannot grasp what your’s does regarding the money-laundering scheme.

    I’m not doubting your assertions…I’m just saying I cannot track with what it is you’re seeing here… I think my problem is that I don’t understand the basics of money-laundering….

  12. sbd says:

    Maybe this can help put it into persprctive. This is from the NCIS and is titled “Anti-Money Laundering
    Strategy” October 2004

    Money laundering is a term usually used to describe the ways in which criminals process illegal or “dirty” money derived from the proceeds of any illegal activity (e.g. the proceeds of drug-dealing, human trafficking, fraud, theft or tax evasion) through a succession of transfers and deals until the source of illegally acquired funds is obscured and the money takes on the appearance of legitimate or “clean” funds or assets.

    There are three internationally recognised phases to money laundering:
    • Placement;
    • Layering; and
    • Integration.

    Placement occurs when the cash generated from crime is placed into the financial system or used to purchase goods. This is the point at which the proceeds of crime are most apparent and therefore most at risk of detection. In this phase dirty money is very often (though not always) in the form of cash but may also, for example, be in the form of negotiable instruments such as travellers cheques. Those seeking to place dirty money might therefore, target deposit-takers such as banks or building societies or cash businesses such as money service businesses or dealers in high value goods.

    Layering is where the dirty money passes through a series of transactions in order to obscure the origin of the proceeds. These transactions may involve different entities, such as companies and trusts, different financial assets such as shares or insurance products and/or multiple jurisdictions.

    Once the original source of the funds has been obscured the final stage of the process is for the dirty money to reappear as legitimate funds or assets, for example, through income from legitimate business. This is known as integration. The criminal is subsequently free to enjoy the proceeds of crime with much less fear that they will be identified as criminal funds.

    Money laundering is an international phenomenon and frequently involves routing transactions through many countries to disguise the illegal origin of the money. Offshore financial centres can be used at this layering stage of money laundering.

  13. sbd says:

    Placement occured with the oil voucher which is the same as cash in this situation/ It was placed in the hands of the Genmar.

    Layering occured when Genmar sold the oil rights to the subsidiary of Total.

    Integration occurs once Total sells the oil which it is in the business of selling, for a huge profit which in turn goes to the parent company COGEMA.

    The key here is the answer to the question “why former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s regime granted him rights to purchase about 4.5 million of barrels of Iraqi oil at a discounted price. ”

    The anwer very well could be for the payment of the Iraqi “yellowcake” purchased from COGEMA!!

  14. MaidMarion says:


    This helps alot…thank you!

  15. MaidMarion says:

    Don’t know if this link has already been posted & discussed…if so, sorry for the duplication. It’s from FreeRepublic and puts forward a theory of what was behind the forged Niger documents:

    “The forged Niger documents were to be used in a coordinated effort to keep the US out of Iraq and end the sanctions. France’s greatest fear was that the US might re-enter Iraq and re-denominate Iraqi oil back to dollars that Saddam had converted in September, 2000 (to Euros). After all, this is what provided the much needed underpinning for the valuation of the euro. It would also most likely mean an end the lucrative Oil-For-Food program. The billions of euros in trade enjoyed by European Union countries would come to an immediate and abrupt halt.”

    “Completing the French Connection – The Reasoning Behind the Forged Niger Documents”