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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

US businessman pleads guilty to Iraq reconstruction bribery charges
Tom Henry at 8:36 AM ET

[JURIST] American businessman Philip H. Bloom pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of conspiracy, bribery and money laundering in a corruption scandal that continues to expand as investigators find "more cases of a similar vein in the pipeline." In his guilty plea, Bloom, who was charged [JURIST report] last year, admitted providing Robert J. Stein [Wikipedia profile], a former US official with the Coalition Provisional Authority [official website] and other officials with more than $4 million in bribes, gifts and stolen Iraqi oil proceeds in exchange for massive contracts for three construction companies Bloom operated in Iraq during the reconstruction effort. In an intricate scheme, Bloom allegedly transferred funds from banks in Romania, Switzerland and the Middle East to bank accounts of other suspects. Stein pleaded guilty [press release; JURIST report] to conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and other charges in February.

Earlier this year, US authorities arrested [press release; JURIST report] Faheem Mousa Salam, a US government contractor working as a translator for Titan Corporation in Iraq, on bribery charges after he allegedly offered $60,000 to an Iraqi police official to help push a sale of 1,000 armored vests and a map printer for over $1 million in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) [text]. The New York Times has more.

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