Scott asked to quiz City figures

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The Independent Online
LORD Justice Scott is facing renewed calls from the business community to take evidence from City figures and industrialists as part of his investigation into the arms-to- Iraq scandal.

The Scott inquiry, which began more than a year ago, has yet to hear any evidence in public from the people who were involved in doing business with Iraq in the 1980s. Some businessmen involved in the arms trade want to be called by the inquiry to reveal what they know of the Government's role in selling weapons to Saddam Hussein.

Gerald James, former chairman of Astra and one of the first to tip the Government off about the Iraqi supergun, said: 'If Scott looked at how the deals were financed, he would get far more of the story.'

As demands to spread the net grew - so far witnesses to the inquiry have been either ministers or civil servants - the Scott inquiry team said in a statement: 'As soon as there is an indication that somebody can help us in some structured way, we will not hesitate to invite them before us. The inquiry has received a certain amount of evidence relating to exports of munitions to Iraq that has been, and is being, followed up.'

There are also suggestions that the inquiry should look more deeply into the background of the giant Al- Yamamah defence deal between the British Government and Saudi Arabia, following a parliamentary disclosure that the deal has 'Crown Status'. This means that there is no obligation for the Saudis to give details of the end users of the defence equipment. Scott has been told that weapons may have been diverted to Iraq via Saudi Arabia.

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