WATCHING THE WORLD: Wheat, chaff, and oil deals

Separating wheat from chaff is important in every business, the oil industry included. Such a separation has become especially important in Australia, where fallout from the United Nation’s Oil-for-Food Program continues.Last week, BHP Billiton Ltd. said it broke no Australian laws in its dealings with Iraq under the UN program despite allegations that a former executive conspired to defraud the scheme of millions of dollars.Norman Davidson Kelly was one of 12 people named in a government investigation of $222 million in kickbacks paid by Australia’s monopoly wheat exporter, AWB Ltd., to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein under the program.Tainted reputationBHP became tainte...

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