Saddam Still Haunts Western Governments
One of Scotland’s largest companies has been fined £3m for breaching UN sanctions on Iraq by doing business with Saddam Hussein’s regime. Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group admitted paying kickbacks to the dictator’s government a decade ago to secure lucrative business contracts.
Judge Lord Carloway the High Court in Edinburgh confiscated £13.9m of illegal profits from Weir. The court was told that Weir Group admitted two charges of breaching United Nations sanctions, imposed on Iraq before the 2003 invasion. Charges centred on contracts entered into under the Oil for Food programme between 2000 and 2002. The programme was introduced by the UN to enable exports of Iraqi oil for food, medicine and other humanitarian needs.
The engineering group made payments to the tune of £3.1m to Saddam regime through an agent in order to secure contracts worth about £35m. The agent was also paid money for his services, amounting to £1.4m. In his judgement, Lord Carloway said it was appropriate that the firm should face a penalty for busting UN sanctions.
The confiscation order for £13.9m of the firm’s illegal profits, made under proceeds of crime legislation, is the biggest ever made by a Scottish court. Assistant Chief Constable Hamilton said, "Just because this case involves a large company does not mean that they are above the law. I sincerely hope that today’s result serves as a warning to other companies who may be tempted to think that they can break the law and get away with it."