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Many Helped Iraq Evade U.N. Sanctions On Weapons

In Bulgaria, a firm called the JEFF Co. exported more than $7 million worth of warheads, missiles and launcher units to Baghdad in 2002 in violation of U.N. sanctions, the report found. Other Bulgarian traders sold chemicals and machine tools to Iraq that could be used for civilian purposes but were really intended for missile components and other military purposes.

In Romania, Iraqi intelligence agents used diplomatic pouches to send photos of tanks and other military equipment available for sale in that nation back to Baghdad. Although weapons inspectors said it was unclear how much equipment was purchased by the Iraqi government, they did uncover documents after the war showing that a Romanian firm, Uzinexport SA, signed a contract in October 2001 to sell magnets to Iraq that "could have been suitable" for a uranium enrichment program.

_____In Today's Post_____
Former U.N. Inspectors Cite New Report as Validation (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
Hussein's Aims, Capabilities Often Differed (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
U.S. Delaying Action on Violators of Iraq Sanctions (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
1,300 Oil Vouchers Begin to Tell Story (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)
Privacy Act, Order Shielded U.S. Names on List (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2004)

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In most cases, U.S. weapons inspectors found no clear evidence that officials in those countries were involved in the arms deals. One exception was Ukraine, where leaders gave their blessing to military sales to Iraq.

The Duelfer report calls Ukraine "one of the countries involved in illicit military-related procurement with Iraq" after the 1991 Gulf War, noting that President Leonid Kuchma personally approved the sale of a $100 million antiaircraft radar system to Iraq via a Jordanian intermediary in 2000. Ukrainian officials have since said the sale was never completed, and weapons inspectors said they had not found any evidence that the radar system was shipped to Iraq.

In 2001, Iraqi intelligence agents also bought five motors from a Ukrainian company as part of a project to develop unmanned spy planes. The motors were shipped to Iraq from Ukraine in diplomatic pouches to avoid the attention of international inspectors, the report said.

A Ukrainian electronics professor whose private firm transferred missile engines and motors to Iraqi companies was rewarded with vouchers and credits for more than 7.5 million barrels of Iraqi oil from 1998 to 2000, the report found. The professor, identified as Yuri Orshansky, made about $1.85 million in profits under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which was designed to generate revenue for the Iraqi people under economic sanctions.

Some of the clearest evidence of government corruption, according to the report, involved Russia, a country that has vast storehouses of military technology.

Although the Russian government has denied past accusations that it played a role in supplying arms and military equipment to Hussein's government, U.S. weapons inspectors reported finding "a significant amount of captured documentation showing contracts between Iraq and Russian companies."

In one case, a Russian general, Anatoly Makros, formed a joint company with Iraqi partners in 1998 "just to handle the large volume of Russian business," according to the report, which also cited a former Iraqi diplomat as saying that Russian customs officials ignored the illegal commerce in exchange for bribes.

Trade with Russia was so brisk that Iraqi Embassy officials smuggled military supplies on weekly charter flights from Moscow to Baghdad, according to the former Iraqi diplomat, who was not named in the report. The equipment included radar jammers, night-vision goggles and small missile components.

One Russian company signed contracts valued at about $20 million to provide material for Iraq's missile systems. Another Russian firm, Uliss, negotiated a deal to support a tank project dubbed "Saddam the Lion," according to the report.

Frankel reported from London.

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