BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: A US judge on Wednesday dismissed Iraq’s lawsuit accusing dozens of companies of conspiring with Saddam Hussein’s regime to frustrate the United Nations’ oil-for-food program, and depriving Iraqis of roughly US$10 billion of essential aid.
US District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan said the government of Iraq could not recover damages and other remedies under an anti-racketeering law because most of the wrongful conduct took place in foreign countries.
He also said Iraq failed to allege the companies’ conduct was a key reason for the injury, and that laws governing sovereign nations did not let the current government escape responsibility for Hussein’s abuses.
“The court rejects Iraq’s view that it may sidestep responsibility because the conduct was illegal or the actors held power illegitimately,” he wrote.
More than 90 companies, subsidiaries and affiliates were named as defendants in the 2008 lawsuit over the US$64.2 billion oil-for-food program, which ran from 1996 to 2003.