Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

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. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bribes from Aussie Wheat Board Funded Suicide Bombers

From The Australian:
KICKBACKS paid by Australia's monopoly wheat exporter to the regime of Saddam Hussein were put into a bank account used to finance a $US10million ($13 million) slush fund for families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

US Government and CIA documents reveal a trail of blood money flowing from companies now known to have taken bribes into bank accounts in Jordan, which were then used by the Iraqi Government to pay money for deadly bombings or to buy weapons.

According to a US inquiry into the corrupt UN oil-for-food program, companies such as Jordanian firm Alia, which received hundreds of millions of dollars from Australian wheat exporter AWB, paid money into "front" accounts held under false names.

These accounts were then emptied each evening into Iraqi Government accounts at the same bank and used for its international transactions.

... AWB, the former Australian Wheat Board, has been accused of paying $US222 million in illegal bribes to the Iraqi Government through the corrupt program. Its payments represented the biggest single contribution to an estimated $1.5 billion in kickbacks uncovered in an investigation by Paul Volcker.

... AWB admits making the payments to Alia but insists it thought the fees were for transporting wheat around Iraq and did not know it was a front company for Saddam's regime.
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