King rebuffs bribery allegations

Ex-Leighton CEO says he refused to be part of 'anything tainted by corruption'.

Former chief executive officer of Leighton Holdings (LEI) Wal King has broken his silence over allegations he approved bribes paid to Iraqi officials, saying he was so "ostracised" within the company at the time a $42 million bribe is alleged to have been paid to win a major project in Iraq that he was “somewhat of a lame duck” chief, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, Mr King said he actively sought to avoid working in countries were bribery was commonplace and pushed his successor David Stewart on why he did not alert the Leighton board if he was aware of specific bribes.

“In my whole period at Leighton I absolutely and completely refused to be involved in anything tainted by corruption,” Mr King said.

The AFR reports Mr King recalls there being "warring factions" within the construction group, saying he was ostracised after Mr Stewart had been selected as his successor.