13 May 2005


A couple of people have emailed to say I’ve got it wrong about the latest Galloway allegations and that it really is about him personally pocketing the money.

Well, I’ll grant that the US Senate committee report raises the issue again – and of course, it would be quite something if it turns out that Galloway has millions from the oil-for-food scam salted away in offshore bank accounts.

But I think it’s a mistake to make a priority of pursuing this angle. Whether Galloway personally benefited from oil-for-food is not as important as whether his political campaigning was subsidised by it – and on this he is on the rack.

Galloway’s friend and political associate, the Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zuriekat, appears to have made substantial sums from oil-for-food and was (on Galloway’s own admission) a major donor to the Mariam Appeal, which (again on Galloway’s own admission) funded much of Galloway's globe-trotting campaigning. If Zuriekat did indeed make money from oil-for-food, that makes for a major scandal even if Galloway knew nothing of his business dealings. And if Galloway knew – well, work it out for yourselves.

The key questions, in other words, are about the nature of Zuriekat’s business and about Galloway’s relationship with Zuriekat, particularly in the Mariam Appeal: when they met, how well they knew one another, how much Zuriekat handed over to the Mariam Appeal and for what, why the Mariam Appeal moved all its records to Jordan, what other financial arrangements existed between Galloway and Zuriekat, how much Galloway knew of Zuriekat’s business, whether he asked Zuriekat where the money was coming from et cetera.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph has a piece explaining what was and what wasn’t determined by Galloway’s libel action here. And Harry (here) is having a field-day again. Maybe I'll just leave it to him . . .

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