French oil and gas group Total has been placed under formal investigation in an eight-year-old case over suspected bribery relating to the United Nations Oil-for-Food program during Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, it said. A French criminal probe into the affair was closed in 2007, and the prosecutor’s office last year recommended dismissing the case against Total’s chief executive and other current and former employees. But a new investigating magistrate decided in early 2010 to place the company under formal investigation on “bribery charges as well as complicity and influence peddling,” Total said in its annual report published late last week. “This formal investigation has been pronounced eight years after the beginning of the investigation without any new evidence being added to the affair,” Total said. (Reuters)

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