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Iraq Agrees to Buy Australian Wheat Despite Kickback Scandal


Iraq has agreed to resume imports of Australian wheat as long as they are not handled by the monopoly wheat exporter at the center of a bribery investigation.

The Australian government is investigating whether A.W.B Limited paid about $220 million to secure more than two billion dollars in wheat contracts with Saddam Hussein's government.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi Grain Board suspended its relationship with A.W.B.. Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile made an emergency trip to Iraq last week to discuss the suspension.

Vaile told ABC radio Monday that the new agreement with Iraq is something that has to be worked out with the industry and with growers.

Prime Minister John Howard has rejected accusations that his government knew about the kickbacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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