Investigators probing the U.N. oil-for-food program say 22-hundred companies from 66 countries made illegal payments to Saddam Hussein's government.
The independent commission said in its final report on the program on Thursday that nearly half of all the companies doing business under the oil-for-food program made illegal payments totaling one-point-eight billion dollars.
The commission said that among those that paid kickbacks or illegal surcharges were such major companies as DaimlerChrysler and subsidiaries of Siemens, as well as politicians in France, Britain, Italy and elsewhere.
Under the U.N. plan, which ran from 1996 to 2003, Iraq was allowed to sell oil in order to buy humanitarian goods to soften the impact of sanctions on ordinary Iraqis.
Former U.S. central bank chief Paul Volcker, who headed the investigation, said better U.N. management could have prevented the corruption from being so pervasive.