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Maurice Strong, Cordex, Oil For Food, Tongsun Park

Congressional report calls for investigation of Maurice Strong's role in Oil-for-Food scandal

By Judi McLeod
Friday, December 9, 2005

A draft congressional report has called for the investigation of Canadian Maurice Strong's role in the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.

Page 35 of the 54-page report, written by Republicans on a House International Relations subcommittee states: "Maurice Strong should be examined for his role in the OFFP."

Strong is a long-time advisor to both UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

On Sept. 7, 2005 it was revealed by the Independent Inquiry into the Oil-for-Food scandal that Strong had received a $1-million cheque from North Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park for the acquisition of shares in Cordex Petroleum Inc.–a Maurice Strong company.

Cordex Petroleum was also on the listing of assets of Paul Martin in his declaration of assets while he was Minister of Finance.

The $1-million, invested in the now defunct Cordex by Tongsun Park, originated from the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Following the path of the Saddam-to-Park-to-Cordex money trail tells a tawdry tale.

Park, allegedly an influence peddler for Saddam Hussein, reportedly took cash in a plastic bag to a Jordanian bank where he deposited it before writing "Mr. M. Strong" on a cheque in the amount of $988,885. The money was used by Strong to purchase a stake in Cordex Petroleum Inc., which was run by Strong's son, Fred.

Cordex's main investments were in oil properties in Chile and Argentina. In Argentina, the company was involved in a joint venture with Enron until it went bankrupt.

Strong maintains he knows nothing of the origin of the funds, and claims he has no ties to Oil-for-Food.

Strong admitted that he sometimes took advice from Park in his job as the UN special envoy in North Korea.

On July 6, 2004 Strong had requested a Canadian contribution of $400,000 over two years for a $2.2-million trust fund to support his special envoy activities in North Korea.

In July 2005, Strong's contract with the UN as Special Envoy to North Korea was not renewed, and he seems to have since faded from public.

Canadian members of parliament voted against investigating whether Canada had any role in the UN Oil-for-Food scandal.

On April 21, 2005, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said, "We note Mr. Strong's very public statements about the nature of his dealings with Tongsun Park which he notes were related to Mr. Strong's work in North Korea for the United Nations secretary general."

Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Stockwell Day asked, "Can the Prime Minister assure us that Canadians are not involved in the scandal surrounding the UN's oil for food program, yes or no?"

Pettigrew responded: "Mr. Speaker, clearly the answer is no, they are not, We have noted the public statements by Mr. Strong concerning the nature of his dealings with Tongsun Park, in which he indicated that these were connected to his work relating to North Korea on behalf of the Secretary General of the UN."

While environmental leaders attending this week's UN climate conference in Montreal expected to hear from Strong--who is generally accepted as the architect of the Kyoto protocol--they heard from Prime Minister Paul Martin instead.

Strong is rarely heard from since allegations of his ties to the oil-for-food scandal became public. Martin, who took time out the Canadian election campaign, did what Maurice Strong does best: criticize the United States of America.

The criticism Martin leveled against the U.S. coincided with the day the draft report of the House International Relations subcommittee became public.

Martin called on all nations to join the global effort to fight climate change, adding: "To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say there is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it." (Toronto Star, Dec. 8, 2005).

At the time of writing, no Canadian media had carried the story that the subcommittee indicated that Strong's role in the Oil-for-food scandal "should be examined".

Meanwhile, many Canadians do not recognize the name of Maurice Strong, let alone his alleged ties to the UN Oil-for-Food scandal.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: judi@canadafreepress.com


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