Aussie federal police to probe wheat deal with India

None | ByPress Trust of India, Melbourne
May 29, 2006 03:52 PM IST

Australia might investigate alleged payment of $2.5 million in kickbacks during a wheat deal with India.

Australia might ask its Federal police to investigate the alleged payment of $2.5 million in kickbacks by the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) during a deal with India in 1998.

HT Image
HT Image

The government would await the report of commissioner Terence Cole who was looking at the evidence, before deciding on whether to involve the federal police, a spokesperson of Attorney General Phillip Ruddock today said on a national TV channel.

An AWB spokesperson said that it was also going to review the matter and would take "whatever action is necessary".

Christian Sealey refused to elaborate on the alleged kickback scandal saying, "AWB is limited in terms of what it can say at this time until we can fully understand and confirm the details.

"Moreover, the AWB understands that the Indian Authorities had closed the matter," he said.

The revelation that AWB paid $2.5 million "commission" to a Caymans Island bank account came to light during the Government inquiry to ascertain if the company breached Australian laws by paying 290 million dollars in alleged kickbacks to Iraq in defiance of the UN sanctions.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, formally closed a probe into the 1998 deal two years ago for alleged lack of documentary support from Canberra, a charge rejected by the Australian Attorney General.

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