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If we're going to have a fecking boring USA thread then we might as well have a fecking boring Scotland thread (except that nothing can be as boring as USA threads :whatever: ).


Weir Group fined £3m over Saddam sanctions breaches


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.


The High Court in Edinburgh heard this had contravened the Oil For Food programme aimed at helping Iraqis.


Judge Lord Carloway also confiscated £13.9m of illegal profits from Weir.


The court was told that Weir Group Plc 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 to take place, provided the cash was used for food, medicine and other humanitarian needs.


The engineering group made payments to the tune of £3.1m to the dictatorship through an agent in order to secure contracts worth about £35m.


The court heard the agent was also paid "substantial" sums of money for his services, amounting to £1.4m.


On Tuesday, an apology on behalf of the directors of Weir Group was read out in court.


In his judgement, Lord Carloway said it was appropriate that the firm should face "a substantial financial penalty" for busting UN sanctions and to "deter future offences".


He said he had taken into account "a number of mitigatory factors" such as Weir's acceptance that it had to repay illegal profits of almost £14m and "the remorse shown at current group board level in relation to their betrayal of the confidence of the company, its shareholders and the general public".


The judge said that had it not been for Weir's early guilty plea, he would have imposed a fine of £4.5m.


Speaking outside court, Weir Group chairman Lord Smith said the company had been "transformed" since the time of the offences.


He said: "What happened back in 2001 was wrong and we accept full responsibility. Today's decision finally draws a line under the Crown Office's Oil For Food investigation, which we believe is in the best interests of shareholders.


"Since 2001, Weir has been transformed. We have a different board and we have a different management team, all of whom are committed to doing business at all times in an ethical manner.


"Today, we have in place robust ethical policies and procedures and we operate a zero-tolerance approach to any behaviour that contravenes them.


"The board regards it as an absolute priority ensuring that we operate with integrity. I am personally confident that we have in place the right culture with the necessary policies and procedures to ensure that it does."


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.




Do we have to pay MM to read this thread? :neener:


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