British oil employee pleads guilty in NYC federal court to aiding oil-for-food transaction

British man admits guilt in NY oil-for-food case

NEW YORK — A British oil company employee has admitted his role in a scheme to cheat the United Nations oil-for-food program by paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq regime.

Fifty-four-year-old John Irving pleaded guilty in a New York court Tuesday to one charge of aiding and abetting importing merchandise.

Under a plea agreement, Irving will face up to six months in prison at his June 5 sentencing. His lawyer didn’t return a telephone message Wednesday.

Irving and two other men were charged in 2005 with cheating the United Nations of at least $100 million that should have gone to humanitarian aid for Iraqis. The other two men pleaded guilty in 2007.

The oil-for-food humanitarian program was created to help Iraqi people cope with U.N. sanctions.

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