US says Texas oilman not reformed, deserves prison

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NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the UN oil-for-food scandal, has not reformed and should receive the maximum prison sentence, U.S. prosecutors said in court papers filed today.

During his trial in October, Wyatt, 83, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one of five charges against him stemming from the scandal, in which millions of dollars in kickbacks were paid to Saddam Hussein's government to win oil contracts from Iraq.

In a sentencing memo, US prosecutors said Wyatt should receive the maximum sentence under his plea agreement of between 18 to 24 months when he is sentenced Tuesday. He had originally faced a maximum of 74 years.

Wyatt's breaking of the program's rules were ''both sophisticated and carefully calculated'' and ''breathtakingly immoral,'' prosecutors said in the memo, arguing his guilty plea during the trial was due to his old age, not a sign of remorse.

''There is nothing in the circumstances of Wyatt's eleventh-hour plea that even begins to suggest that Wyatt is a wholly new man, reformed, and sure now to put behind him decades of illegal activities,'' the memo said.

The UN program was established to help Saddam's Iraq sell oil to buy humanitarian supplies while it was otherwise under UN sanctions due to its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

But a UN-commissioned inquiry headed by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker found the program was corrupted by 2,200 companies in 66 countries that paid 1.8 billion dollar n kickbacks to Iraqi officials to win supply deals.

During his trial, prosecutors said Wyatt was at the forefront of the scheme and presented bank records, UN records and Iraqi government records to back their claim that Wyatt paid kickbacks to secure Iraqi oil contracts.

Under the plea agreement, Wyatt has agreed to forfeit more than 11 million dollar. Prosecutors said that money should be transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq, set up to aid reconstruction.

Reuters AK VP0225

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