George Galloway rejects new oil scandal claims

A furious George Galloway today challenged US senators to charge him with perjury over claims that he solicited money from Saddam Hussein's oil-for-food programme and lied about it under oath. The US Senate inquiry into the Bethnal Green and Bow MP's alleged involvement in the saga claims to have discovered $150,000 (Ј85,000) in Iraqi oil money in his estranged wife's bank account.

Its chairman, the Republican senator Norm Coleman, says this means Mr Galloway lied under oath when giving evidence to the senate permanent sub-committee on investigations on May 17, when he offered a passionate defence against similar claims, Guardian Unlimited reports.

Today Mr Galloway repeated denials that he had ever received any oil cash, and told Mr Coleman to "put up or shut up" by either bringing a prosecution or dropping the allegations. The Respect MP accused Mr Coleman of orchestrating a "sneak revenge attack" motivated by a desire to avenge his "humiliation" at the hearing in May.

The committee's new report accuses Mr Galloway of personally soliciting and being granted eight oil allocations totalling 23m barrels from the Hussein government between 1999 and 2003.

The MP could face criminal charges if he is found to have given false testimony to the committee on 17 May, BBC reports. A.M.

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