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Bank probes kickbacks in Iraq oil scam

By Mpumelelo Mkhabela | Aug 24, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

STANDARD Bank has launched an investigation into allegations that it was used to pay kickbacks by a South African company that did business in Iraq.

The bank launched the probe after it was approached by the Sunday Times to comment on allegations contained in the Donen Commission report.

The commission, headed by advocate Michael Donen SC, was set up by former president Thabo Mbeki to probe South African companies and individuals who conducted oil deals with the former Iraqi regime.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is one of several individuals named, as is Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale.

At issue are the so-called "surcharges" paid to Iraq. Oil sale revenue was supposed to go into a UN-supervised "humanitarian" account.

The report fingers Johannesburg company Ape Pumps for "illicit conduct" after it paid "after-sales fees", using Standard Bank as a conduit.

The kickbacks were levied by Iraqi officials.

The report says R697623 was paid to an Arab Bank for the benefit of an Iraqi official.

Standard Bank spokesperson Erik Larsen says "We are investigating and will cooperate with any official inquiry. We do not believe it appropriate to comment on a report that has not yet been made public."


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