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Total CEO to Appear in Paris Court for Oil-for-Food Trial

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie will appear in Paris court on Jan. 21 to fight charges he participated in the scandal stemming from the United Nations oil-for-food relief program.

The trial is scheduled to run through Feb. 20. Total, Vitol SA and 18 individuals, including de Margerie, are listed as defendants in the trial over claims the program, meant to ease conditions in Iraq after sanctions imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, was abused by Iraqi officials to evade the controls.

The investigation began in 2002. France is alone in prosecuting corruption claims, misinterpreting as bribes payments made by traders to Iraqi government accounts unauthorized under the UN program, said Emmanuel Rosenfeld, de Margerie’s lawyer. The company, accused of influence peddling, and CEO, charged with enabling the misuse of corporate assets, deny the allegations.

Total’s segment of the trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 4, according to a provisional calendar from the Paris prosecutors’ office. De Margerie, 61, is set to testify on Feb. 5.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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