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Wed 3 Aug 2011 03:32 PM

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Total chief faces trial in Iraq oil-for-food corruption case

French oil major and CEO accused of violating programme, to stand trial in Paris

Total chief faces trial in Iraq oil-for-food corruption case
Total chief executive officer Christophe de Margerie

Total and its chief executive officer Christophe de Margerie
will stand trial in Paris over alleged wrongdoings regarding Iraq’s
oil-for-food program during Saddam Hussein’s rule, a French judicial official
said.

Total is accused of bribing foreign nationals, said the
official at the Paris prosecutors’ office, declining to be named in line with
internal policy.

In the case filed last week, the Total CEO and 18 other
people, including businessmen, former diplomats, a former politician and a
journalist, will stand trial at an unspecified date, the judicial official
said.

“We are confident about the trial’s outcome and that Total
will be cleared of these allegations and the charges will be dropped,” the
Paris-based company said in an emailed statement.

The case centers on claims that some people received oil
vouchers in exchange for lobbying to loosen sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s
regime, and that employees of Total bought that oil.

In 2006, De Margerie was placed under investigation over
possible violations under the oil-for-food program, which allowed Iraq to sell
a certain amount of crude and spend the proceeds on humanitarian goods.

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