Cargill, St. Jude linked to kickbacks in oil-for-food program for Iraq

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Cargill Inc. and St. Jude Medical Inc. Allegedly paid bribes when they participated in the United Nations’ oil-for-food program, designed to provide food and medicine to Iraq.

The allegations are listed in a report on the program, published by the UN on October 27, and are based on the findings of an independent inquiry committee led by Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

Cargill, an international food and commodities company based in Minnetonka, allegedly paid $81,000 to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as a kickback on the sale of $1.2 million worth of palm oil.

The deal itself was not illegal and was arranged through a Cargill subsidiary in Malaysia.

St. Jude, a medical device maker in Little Canada, paid an alleged $600,000 to Hussein as part of a $7.6 million sale of medical appliances and equipment arranged by a subsidiary in Austria.

Both companies deny wrongdoing and say they are cooperating with investigators.

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