Govt helped BHP in Iraq


Lubricating the machinery at govt to govt level: The inquiry was told that Mr Downer flew to London in May 2003 and met with former British foreign minister Malcolm Rifkind, now a BHP executive, to discuss how the Australian government could represent the mining giant’s interest in Iraq at a ministerial level with the US government.

BHP Billiton claims "talked it over" with Aust govt: But the ministerial submission about the London meeting presented to Mr Downer in May 2003 alluded to the sanctions-busting deal BHP had first proposed in 1996 when it turned a gift of wheat to the Iraqis into a loan. "BHP Billiton advises that this arrangement was discussed with the Australian Government at the time," wrote DFAT first secretary on the Iraq Taskforce Bill Patterson.

The Australian Financial Review, 12/4/2006, p. 8

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