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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 19:20 GMT
Ex-minister denies Iraq oil claim
Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua says he has never been a friend of Saddam Hussein
Former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua has denied claims that he received gifts from Saddam Hussein in return for supporting his regime.

Mr Pasqua rubbished recent reports in Iraqi newspaper al-Mada, saying he had "never received anything from Saddam Hussein, neither petrol nor money".

The paper printed a list of foreigners who, it says, received oil coupons for backing an end to sanctions.

Mr Pasqua denies claims he was given 12 million barrels of crude oil.

He told French television: "I have never received any gifts from the Iraqi government and I am not in the habit of making my decisions on the basis of any remuneration I might receive.

Former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua is not involved, but maybe other former ministers are involved
Charles Pasqua
"That is not part of my ethics or my conception of things."

Mr Pasqua denied knowing that any such transactions were taking place in the 1990s but he said it did not surprise him.

"Former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua is not involved, but maybe other former ministers are involved," he said.

Mr Pasqua told Le Monde newspaper that he was not and had never been a friend of Saddam Hussein.

He said the neo-Gaullist RPR party he was part of at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991 pushed for action against the Iraqi regime.

There are at least 11 French names on the list of more than 270 foreigners published by al-Mada.

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