Friday, October 21, 2005

Texas oilman Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. arrested and charged in oil-for-food probe

NEW YORK (AP) – An 81-year-old wealthy Texas oilman and two Swiss business executives were charged on Friday with directing the payment of several million dollars in illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s

Iraqi regime to benefit from the United Nations oil-for-food program.
Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., former chairman of Coastal Corp., was arrested on Friday morning at his home in Houston. The U.S. government, meanwhile, was seeking the extradition of Catalina del Socorro Miguel Fuentes and Mohammed Saidji from Switzerland.
Karl Parker, a lawyer for Wyatt, described his client as an American hero, the victim of a politically motivated prosecution stemming from his criticism of the last three presidential administrations.
“He’s done more for America than any of the people accused of wrongdoing. He was being shot at as a 19-year-old fighter pilot in World War II and now they want to accuse him of helping some terrorist country,” Parker said.
Ben Berry, the FBI’s acting assistant special agent in charge of white-collar crimes, said Wyatt was arrested by FBI agents at his residence.
Wyatt was freed after bail was set at $2.5 million during an appearance at U.S. District Court in Houston.
If convicted of conspiracy and other charges, the three men named in the indictment unsealed Friday could face a maximum of 62 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gain resulting from the offenses.

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