The man chosen to lead John McCain’s presidential transition team was involved in a lobbying effort on behalf of Saddam Hussein, it has been reported.
William E Timmons has been asked to help plan a McCain administration – should the Republican win the presidential election on November 4.
But his background has now come under close scrutiny, with US political blog the Huffington Post claiming he worked closely with two lobbyists who were convicted of acting as "unregistered agents" for Saddam’s regime.
The two men – Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park – tried to ease sanctions on Iraq in the years following the first Gulf War.
They hoped to be rewarded with large oil contracts – but did not tell the US government they were working for the Iraqi dictator.
Their activities were illegal under US law and Vincent pleaded guilty to the charges in 2005. Park was convicted by a US court and sent to prison in 2006.
The Huffington blog says the men passed messages between Mr Timmons and Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and claims the trio stood to make up to £25m ($45m) from their dealings.
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