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Update On BHP Billiton's Investigation Into The Financing Of A 1996 Grain Shipment To Iraq

On 19 January 2006, BHP Billiton announced it would clarify the facts as soon as possible in relation to its financing of a grain shipment to Iraq in 1996.   This review was initiated out of the company’s concern about the references made to BHP in the Royal Commission into the UN Oil-For-Food Programme.

BHP Billiton CEO, Chip Goodyear, today provided an update on progress of the review.

“The matters raised in relation to BHP in the Royal Commission are of real concern to us.  Our priority is to ensure that the internal review remains focused on determining the relevant facts around that issue.”

Mr Goodyear said the internal review the company was undertaking would be thorough and its conclusions would be provided publicly as appropriate, given the matters before the Commission.

“The shipment took place more than 10 years ago and many of the people involved have since left the company.   We are committing significant resources towards establishing the facts; this involves reviewing documentation from within and outside of Australia.   We have and will continue to assist the Commission.

“This is an extensive process and it will take some time to properly review all the available information, including any evidence provided to the Commission throughout its public hearing.  

“Our Guide to Business Conduct, established in 1997, outlines our commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct.  We take that commitment very seriously and understand it is fundamental to our long term business success,” he said.