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AWB's deals with Iraq and its downfall

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016


* Australian Wheat Board had an effective monopoly on sale of Australian wheat overseas

* Privatised in 1999, AWB Ltd lists on the stock market in 2001

* Iraq is a major buyer and Australia's largest wheat market in 1990

* UN imposes sanctions after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait

* UN oil-for-food program runs from 1997 to 2003

* AWB wins wheat sales to Iraqi Grain Board

* Unknown to its international competitors, AWB accepts a lower price than revealed in contracts

* Prices inflated by sham, so-called "inland transportation" and "after-sales service fees"

* Payments always made via intermediary based in Jordan who is linked to Iraqi authorities

* AWB then obtains funds from UN escrow account

* AWB pays $US223 million in those fees to intermediary company Alia between November 1999 and March 2003

* UN oil-for-food program ends after coalition forces invade Iraq in 2003

* US inquiry into payment of inland transportation fees accuses AWB of acting contrary to UN sanctions

* Cole Royal Commission in 2006 finds AWB knowingly made secret payments to the Saddam Hussein regime

* Australian government strips AWB of its 60-year monopoly in 2008

* AWB taken over by Canadian company Agrium in 2010.

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