'The Social Democrats never accepted any bribes from the regime of Saddam Hussein in the form of oil or anything else in return for our support for the Iraqi leadership,' Leader of the Russian Social Democrats Vladimir Zhirinovsky has announced. According to the party's press office Mr Zhirinovsky said that 'in pre-war Iraq oil was national property according to the constitution and nobody, not even the president, had the right to distribute this national property as he wanted even if he agreed to provide the most zealous support for the regime in power.'
'Somebody in the West is interested in discrediting our country by accusing Russian politicians of greediness and corruption,' Mr Zhirinovsky claimed. 'The Social Democrats always favored close and neighborly relations with Iraq and will continue to do so in future.'
Iraqi newspaper Al Mada had earlier published a list of 270 people who had supposedly received oil and money for supporting Saddam Hussein. The newspaper claimed that representatives of the Social Democrats and the Russian Orthodox Church were involved in the dealings. The Iraqi Oil Ministry is planning to make an appeal to Interpol that the money that was made by the illegal sale of oil be returned.