Business

ASIC loses wheat board court appeal

Ex-AWB executive Peter Geary has again been cleared of knowing about secret kickbacks to Iraq. (AAP)

ASIC has lost an appeal against a decision to clear a former wheat exporter executive over claims he knew about millions of dollars worth of secret kickbacks.

The corporate watchdog has lost its appeal against a judge's decision to clear a former wheat export executive over secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Victorian Court of Appeal on Monday dismissed the challenge of a Supreme Court decision clearing former Australian Wheat Board trade manager Peter Geary of knowing about the payments, worth about $US223m ($A312 m) and in contravention of United Nations sanctions.

Mr Geary was one of six former AWB officers and directors pursued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following a 2006 royal commission, which found the wheat exporter knowingly made secret payments to Iraq between 1999 and 2003.

Justice Ross Robson in 2016 cleared Mr Geary and former AWB chairman Trevor Flugge over the kickbacks scandal, uncovered after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq toppled Hussein's regime.

However, Mr Flugge was found guilty of breaching his duties as a director because he failed to make inquiries about the illicit payments after learning of them in 2000.

ASIC then appealed against Justice Robson's decision to clear Mr Geary, alleging the judge erred in his findings concerning the former executive's knowledge of wrongdoing.

But in a summary judgment published on Monday, the Court of Appeal determined ASIC failed to prove Mr Geary had breached his duties under the Corporations Act.

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