Weir Group fined £3m for breaking Saddam-era Iraqi sanctions

Scottish engineering firm Weir Group Plc was fined £3 million today for paying illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime to secure lucrative contracts.

• Lord Smith Chairman of the Weir Group (right) and Keith Cochrane Chief Executive Officer.

The Glasgow-based firm admitted two charges of breaching United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

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The group wired millions of pounds into a Swiss bank account to pay Saddam's henchmen in an attempt to evade UN sanctions.

In return the company gained multi-million pound profits from the now deposed Iraqi regime.

The money awarded to the firm should have been used for humanitarian purposes to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people under the UN's Oil For Food programme, but went to the dictatorship instead.

The company had already agreed to hand over its 13.9 million profit from the business deals under a confiscation order.

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Judge Lord Carloway imposed a fine of 3 million on the company.

He said a substantial financial penalty was "undoubtedly merited" and that the court had to consider the need to deter future offences.