Grain, Grain, Go Away

The suits who sell wheat globally on behalf of Australia's farmers are known professionally for their hubris and sharp elbows. After former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker fingered AWB Ltd. for funneling $A290 million in bribes to Saddam Hussein, Australia's monopoly wheat merchants lost some of their swagger. Since Jan. 16, AWB executives have squirmed and stuttered through testimony in Sydney during Commissioner Terence Cole's inquiry into the activities of local companies involved in the U.N. Oil-for-Food Programme. Last week, while counsel-assisting the inquiry John Agius was drilling for truth in a barren headspace, a matron in the public gallery...

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