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Kuwait orders probe into US Dow Chemical deal

[KUWAIT CITY] Kuwait has asked the public prosecutor to open an investigation into a scrapped deal with US firm Dow Chemical that resulted in a US$2.2 billion fine, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Citing an unnamed high-ranking source, Al-Qabas daily said the government last week sent a large number of documents to the public prosecutor all the details about the deal.

The documents included the names of officials who have been associated with the US$17.4 billion joint venture, the daily said.

Kuwait and US petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical signed the deal in 2008 but the emirate unilaterally scrapped it later in the same year due to a political dispute between the government and parliament.

The International Chamber of Commerce, acting as an arbitrator, later ordered Kuwait to pay a penalty of US$2.2 billion for scrapping the deal.

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The government paid the fine in May 2013 although parliament had warned against making the payment before conducting a probe.

The oil-rich Gulf state's move comes six months after a parliamentary probe into the case urged the government to prosecute 24 ex-officials, including two former oil ministers and several top former industry executives.

The parliamentary probe report, debated by MPs in December, charged the officials of squandering public funds and making illegal profits.


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