Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Australian Wheat Board May Face Legal Charges in U.S.

The Australian Wheat Board, the country's monopoly wheat
exporter, could face legal action in the U.S. after an inquiry found that AWB
had misled the United Nations over payments to secure wheat deals in Iraq,
U.S. Wheat Associates said.
The Australian government on Monday found that AWB broke U.N. oil-for-food
sanctions against Iraq with $222 million in kickbacks to
the government of Saddam Hussein between 1999 and 2003.
The U.S. Wheat Associates represent American wheat
growers who have long complained that AWB's monopoly in Australia inhibits
The Wheat Associates said on Tuesday that AWB's subsidiary in the
U.S. could be liable under U.S. law.
"The funds that came from the oil-for-food program moved
through U.S. banks," Alan Tracy, president of U.S. Wheat
Associates, told ABC radio. "There are a lot of connections
here and possible violations of U.S. law."
AWB spokesman Peter McBride said AWB had no comment.
Prime Minister John Howard said after the release of the
report on Monday that the Australian government was considering the future of
Australia's wheat export system.
Australia is the second-largest exporter and competes
fiercely with the U.S. on world markets.
Large U.S. grain traders would welcome the opportunity to export from the
Australian market. So would the global grain trading giants, including Cargill Inc.,
Louis Dreyfus, Noble Group, Bunge Ltd., Toepfer and Glencore.
In an attempt to keep its export monopoly, AWB has proposed separating
the scandal-tainted export arm from the main company.
"The split proposal will enable AWB Ltd. to become a more
efficient and commercially focused organization with a standard
commercial constitution that will facilitate the transition to
a more competitive environment," AWB Chairman Brendan Stewart
said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.
AWB's shares fell over 4 percent on the Sydney exchange to A$2.70 after the
announcement, which confirmed earlier newspaper reports. The
shares later recovered to lose around 2 percent, but they have
still lost over 60 percent of their value since January.
Stewart said he will resign when shareholders approve the
split, expected in 2007. Farmer directors will also resign.


Contact U.S. News


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

  • Learning your value

    How to make sure you get what you¿re worth at your job, why you should stop apologizing, and how to manage work-life balance. Anchor Mika Brzeznski, author of the new book "Grow Your Value," shares her strategies for juggling busy lives.

  • Why women cheat?

    Is cheating bad? Why do women cheat? The founder and CEO of affair website Ashley Madison tells all, including why he has his eye on China.

  • Judge's gavel

    The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority disciplined several financial services firms and individuals in May 2015.

U.S. Video

  • Cramer: Here's a sign the market could rally

    Wall Street's been soaking in red, but "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has one signal to watch for that could point to another run.

  • Burger war maneuvers

    Cramer looks at the number of company's selling burgers and tries to determine the quality names, as well as those to avoid.

  • Cramer: What's driving defense?

    Cramer says that even though President Obama has made it clear the US can no longer be the world's policeman, the country can become the world's arms dealer. Profiting from defense spending.