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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Scots firm on Iraq payments list
Weir Group HQ in Glasgow
Weir Group has its headquarters in Glasgow
A Scottish company has been accused of violating the United Nation's oil-for-food programme by making payments to Saddam Hussein's regime.

A UN investigation found 2,000 firms, including the Glasgow-based Weir Group, were involved in bribes or surcharges.

The report said the companies either knowingly paid the payments or caused them to be made through an agent.

Weir, said to have made $4.5m (2.5m) in payments, said it was unaware some of the documents identified existed.

The report said Weir made the illicit payments from 16 contracts.

Sales commission

But the report committee, led by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, stopped short of assigning direct blame to the companies named.

"The identification of a particular company in the report does not necessarily mean that that company as opposed to an agent ... made unauthorised (payments) or even knew about illicit payments," Mr Volcker told a media conference.

A statement from Weir said: "We have not had a chance to review this in detail, however we are concerned that the IIC (Independent Inquiry Committee) has identified documents that we were not aware existed.

"We will now consider this new information and the report in detail and decide any further action to be taken."

In July last year, Weir, which makes pumping equipment and pipelines, apologised after an internal review found that higher than normal payments were made.

Following its investigation, it said that 15 out of the 37 contracts, for water treatment equipment, had been raised in price.

Invasion of Kuwait

It found that payments were made to an agent, in addition to sales commission.

The oil-for-food programme was introduced following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions prohibiting trade with Iraq and the programme was introduced to enable exports of Iraqi oil to take place provided the cash was used for food and medicine.

Weir, which employs about 8,000 people worldwide, was granted 37 contracts as part of the programme through its overseas business, Wesco Dubai.

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