Oilman Gets Year in Prison for Iraq Deal

Houston's Wyatt paid off Saddam to secure contract
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 5:51 PM CST
Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., center left, 83, founder and former chairman of Coastal Corp. arrives at Manhattan federal court with his wife, Lynn, to be sentenced for his part in a United Nations oil-for-food...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A prominent Texas oilman will spend about a year in prison for paying off Saddam's regime to secure a big oil contract. Oscar Wyatt, 83, admitting violating the UN's oil-for-food program by paying a secret Iraqi surcharge of $200,000—essentially a bribe. A judge sentenced Wyatt to a year and a day, though he can get about 2 months off for good behavior, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I was wrong and for that I am truly sorry," Wyatt said. Among the evidence submitted by the prosecution: a tape that recorded Wyatt asking a compatriot, "Did you check to see whether they've approved that $200,000 I've already paid to the bastards over there?"