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Humanist, humorist

Saturday, March 17, 2007

British companies including GSK in bribery inquiry

Leading British companies are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over allegations that they bribed Saddam Hussein to win lucrative contracts.

The SFO said that a £22 million inquiry had been launched into breaches of the discredited UN oil-for-food sanctions that enabled the Iraqi dictator to accumulate up to £1 million.

The inquiry was prompted by a UN report that listed more than 2,200 companies from 40 countries that may have been linked to bribery or “kickbacks” to Iraq.

British companies listed in the report by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, include GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, all of which strongly deny the accusations

Mr Volcker said that the programme, in which Iraq was allowed to sell limited amounts of oil to buy food and medicines, had become corrupted as the Saddam regime demanded kickbacks in return for the contracts.

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