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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery in Iraqi Reconstruction Case

19 April 2006

A U.S. contractor has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and money-laundering charges involving U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

In court papers unsealed Tuesday in Washington, Philip Bloom admitted to paying out more than two million dollars in cash and gifts to U.S. officials in Iraq in exchange for receiving more than $8 billion in reconstruction deals.

The bribery scheme involved officials serving in the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq for more than a year after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, as well as several U.S. military officers.

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says his office has launched 70 other criminal investigations.

Bloom faces up to 40 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he must repay the government nearly $4 million and give up nearly $4 million in assets.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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