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Minneapolis Company Involved in AWB Fallout

Commodity Specialist Company listed in USDA announcement that suspends Australia's AWB.

Wednesday USDA officials suspended 11 individuals and one company, Minneapolis-Minn.-based Commodity Specialist Company, because of involvement in the Australian Wheat Board's Iraq oil-for-food kickbacks scandal. Phil Lindau, co-president of CSC, told Feedstuffs USDA's suspension will not impact a variety of transactions they are currently executing, only new contracts moving forward. He added that CSC's business primarily deals with domestic feed merchants and the export food segment is a relatively small portion of its business.

In a statement from co-president Bill Mikkelson, he added that the announcement came as a complete surprise to CSC and the company was never asked to provide documentation in regard to the transaction under scrutiny. "Had CSC been provided the opportunity to review and address the USDA's questions, this issue could have been resolved without this unnecessary action. We believe that CSC has complied with all applicable rules and regulations related to this transaction and are deeply disappointed that our company's reputation has been called into question," his statement said.

Lindau added that CSC plans to work hard to clear this up quickly. "Everything we've done has been in the full light of the government," he said, adding the United Nations, USDA and Treasury Dept. are all involved in the oil-for-food transactions.

Mikkelson added, "CSC will cooperate fully with the USDA in providing the agency the information needed to quickly resolve this issue and exonerate CSC from this baseless claim."

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