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Ex-Scania managers charged over Iraq deal

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08:36 CET+01:00
Two former managers of truck maker Scania were on Wednesday indicted on charges of violating the UN sanctions against Saddam Husseins's regime in Iraq, the Swedish Ministry for Justice said Wednesday.

"According to the indictment, the company was aware of kickbacks, paid and promised to be paid by front companies it hired, to the Iraqi regime, which was in violation of the sanctions that applied at the time," the prosecutor said in a statement.

The alleged incidents took place between 2001 and 2003. In accordance with Swedish law, the men's names have not been released.

Scania said the company had not studied the charges in detail. One of the men was now retired, while the other no longer held an executive position with the company, it said.

A spokesman, Hans-Åke Danielsson, told AFP that Scania would contest the charges and that the company "hasn't paid any bribes to anybody, and hasn't asked anyone to do so."

Sweden is investigating around 15 groups suspected of breaching the UN "Oil for food" programme.

But so far charges have only been pressed against Scania, which in 2009 re-opened a plant in Iraq that was shuttered during the 2003 war, and against Volvo.

The "Oil for food" programme between 1996 and 2003 allowed Baghdad to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian aid and food, in the wake of the sanctions that were imposed against the country after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Millions of dollars were siphoned out of the programme by the Iraqi regime.

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