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Australian Leader Testifies At Iraq Wheat Inquiry

Australian Prime Minister John Howard (file photo) (epa) April 13, 2006 -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard has denied that his government knew that Australia's monopoly wheat export company paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Howard today testified before an independent inquiry probing the allegations, the first Australian prime minister to appear at such a high-level inquiry in more than 20 years.

The company at the center of the controversy, AWB, was owned by the state at the time and was the single largest supplier of humanitarian goods under the United Nations' now-discredited oil-for-food program.

(compiled from agency reports)

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