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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 04:56 GMT 05:56 UK
Galloway claims Iraq oil victory
George Galloway sits in the Senate hearing

UK MP George Galloway has claimed victory in his fight to clear his name at a US Senate hearing over Iraqi oil.

Mr Galloway compared his duel with the Senate committee to the 1955 fight between Rocky Marciano and Don Cockell but said the Briton had won this time.

He said he was convinced he had cleared his name over allegations he received credits for oil from Saddam's regime.

But committee chairman Norm Coleman said: "I think that Mr Galloway's credibility is certainly very suspect."

Mr Galloway said he had "knocked them for six" after accusing the senators of the "mother of all smokescreens".

The Respect MP accused the US Senate investigations committee of being "cavalier" with justice.

He said after the hearing: "These people think they can smear people without them having the right to speak back and this time I got that right and I knocked them for six."

Referring to the 1955 heavyweight bout in which the American world champion beat the British champion, he said: "It was Rocky Marciano versus Don Cockell, but this time the British guy won.

"They didn't have a leg to stand on," he added.

"All they had was my name on a bit of paper and that just isn't good enough."

Mr Zureikat never gave me a penny from an oil deal, a cake deal, a bread deal or from any other deal
George Galloway
Respect MP

During the hearing, Mr Galloway insisted: "I am not now nor have I ever been an oil trader and neither has anyone on my behalf."

The senators say he was given credits to buy Iraqi oil by Saddam Hussein.

Mr Galloway claims the evidence against him is false. He says forged documents have been used to make claims about him in the past.

He denied making any money from the Iraqi oil-for-food-programme, and accused the senators of making mistakes in their report which were "schoolboy howlers".

After the hearing, the Republican Senator Coleman said if Mr Galloway had lied to the committee "there will have to be consequences to that".

Lying to Congress can result in a year in prison in the US.

Oil allocations

The United Nations-backed oil-for-food scheme enabled Saddam Hussein to export oil to pay for essential humanitarian aid to help the Iraqi people cope with UN sanctions imposed in 1991.

Options to buy barrels of Iraqi oil were alleged to have been given as rewards for supporting Saddam Hussein.

The former Iraqi leader sold the vouchers at below market prices to favoured parties, who were able to sell them on at profit.

One of the main allegations raised by the Senate sub-committee is that Mr Galloway received oil allocations with the assistance of Fawaz Zureikat.

Mr Zureikat, who was chairman of the Mariam Appeal set up by Mr Galloway to help a four year old Iraqi girl with leukaemia, has strongly denied making any arrangements linked to oil sales on behalf of the MP.

Mr Galloway told the senators: "I can assure you Mr Zureikat never gave me a penny from an oil deal, a cake deal, a bread deal or from any other deal.

"He donated money to our campaign, which we publicly brandished on all our literature along with all the other donors to the campaign."

In December, Mr Galloway won 150,000 in libel damages from the Daily Telegraph over its separate claims he had received money from Saddam's regime.

Last month the newspaper won permission to appeal against the ruling to pay the damages, plus 1.2m in costs.

At this month's UK general election, Mr Galloway narrowly beat Labour's Oona King to win the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, in East London, for his fledgling Respect party.


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