The US has asked Germany to extradite a Canadian citizen who had been living in Abu Dhabi in connection with charges involving the UN Oil for Food programme in Iraq, according to the department of justice in Washington. Ousama Naaman, 60, is accused of conspiring to defraud the programme in Iraq and to bribe Iraqi officials in connection with the sale of a fuel additive. He was arrested in Frankfurt on Thursday.
Mr Naaman was indicted last year on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The US claims that he acted on behalf of an unidentified American chemicals company and its subsidiary when he allegedly paid 10 per cent "kickbacks" to the Iraqi government between 2001 and 2003, in exchange for five contracts under the oil for food programme. The indictment alleges that Mr Naaman was paid two per cent of the contract value and also received a commission.
If convicted on all charges, Naaman would face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. The oil for food programme ran from 1996 to 2003 and allowed Iraq to sell oil as long as most of the proceeds were spent on humanitarian goods. It was intended to ease suffering under UN sanctions imposed after Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. * With additional reporting from the Associated Press