Three Charged in Iraq Kickback Scheme

AFP reports that three men have been charged with conspiring to defraud the US government over a kickback scheme involving contracts for ammunition disposal in Iraq.

Briton Ahmed Sarchil Kazzaz and his business, Leadstay Company, were charged in federal court in the southern state of Alabama along with US citizens Gaines Newell, 52, and Billy Joe Hunt, 57, who were US government contractors.

Kazzaz allegedly "paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks [to Newell and Hunt] in order to obtain lucrative subcontracts for himself and Leadstay," the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

Newell was the program manager in Iraq for the unnamed California-based prime contractor to a US-funded munitions-clearing program, while Hunt was the deputy program manager.

Kazzaz, 45, was arrested in California in February.

The contracts were issued as part of a munitions clearance program operated in Iraq by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntsville Engineering and Support Center (HESC).

The HESC was tasked with storing and disposing weapons seized or abandoned in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and awarded a contract to perform this work "to an international engineering and construction firm headquartered in Pasadena, California" where Newell and Hunt worked.

(Source: AFP)

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