Paris: Charles Pasqua, a former French minister of interior, has emerged as one of the highest-ranking targets of the widening investigations into the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.

United Nations, US and French investigators are examining Iraqi documents that show officials in Baghdad were instructed to transfer his lucrative oil allocations to an offshore company, to shield him from criticism.

Early on Tuesday, Bernard Guillet, Mr Pasqua’s diplomatic adviser, was arrested at home in Paris in connection with the oil-for-food inquiry, on the orders of Philippe Courroye, a French investigative judge. Mr Guillet was yesterday in police custody.

The Iraqi documents indicate that Mr Pasqua’s oil allocations were personally approved by Mr Hussein. (FT)