Oil-for-food program: George Galloway faces down allegations

Maverick British lawmaker &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/15425_Blair.html ' target=_blank>George Galloway set off to the United States Monday determined to face down allegations that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein awarded him the right to buy oil.

The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last week released documents that it said showed Saddam personally granted Galloway the rights to export 20 million barrels of oil under the now-defunct U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program.

Galloway boarded a flight to Amsterdam early Monday with onward connections to New York and Washington. He is due to appear before the committee Tuesday.

A radical kicked out from the Labor party for his fervent opposition to the Iraq war and personal attacks on Prime Minister &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/15425_Blair.html ' target=_blank>Tony Blair, Galloway said he was looking forward to putting his side of the story across, tells Reuters.

According to Xinhuanet, Galloway has denied the allegations and said he did not receive any benefits from the program. The oil-for-food programme allowed Saddam's government to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people, who suffer UN sanctions imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

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