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Officials look into Australian-Iraqi wheat deal
Australia has won a 350,000 ton Iraqi wheat contract worth up to $52.3 million, according to the Australian Trade Minister.

This comes despite evidence that Australia's wheat exporter, AWB Limited, may have violated U.N. sanctions by bribing Saddam Hussein.

Now AWB is the focus of a inquiry that suggests Prime Minister John Howard and other government officials knew of concerns about the company as early as 2000.

"The cable is part of a series of cables which clearly shows that what happened was a concern was raised, that concern was communicated to AWB, the allegation was denied, AWB was required to provide some contracts to the United Nations and the United Nations said that the provision of those contracts removed the misconception. End of story. That's the reality of what happened then, it doesn't alter in any way the position my government has taken," Howard said.

The inquiry is expected to report its findings later this month.

If officials or executives are found to have broken Australian laws, they may be prosecuted.
MGR Archive 7.3.2006
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EU Prices Baldo €660
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