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US Cable: Facing Suit, Pfizer Tried to Link Nigerian Official to Corruption

A newly-released U.S. diplomatic cable says Pfizer hired investigators to dig up damaging evidence against Nigeria's former attorney general to pressure him into dropping a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company.

The document, published by WikiLeaks Friday, quotes a Pfizer official in 2009 as saying the company was seeking to uncover corruption links to Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa and was passing the information to local media.

The drug company denied the charges in a statement Friday, calling the allegations "simply preposterous."

Pfizer was facing a lawsuit over the company's controversial trial of the antibiotic Trovan during a meningitic epidemic in the Nigerian state of Kano in 1996.

Nigerian officials say 11 children died during the trial while others were left with deformities.

Pfizer reached a $75 million settlement with Kano last year.

Other U.S. documents released this week by WikiLeaks depicts Mozambique as Africa's burgeoning drug trafficking center, while the government looks the other way.

The cables said Mozambique is a transit point for cocaine, heroine and other drugs that are mostly consumed in Europe.

One document says the country's government has not shown the political will to confront the drug trade.