Iraq

Iraq Contracting Payoffs Include Gifts and Money

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The payoffs at the heart of reconstruction fraud in Iraq apparently come in many forms. Documents in the case of Robert Stein, a former Defense Department employee for the Coalition Provisional Authority, show that payoffs can include watches, cars, planes and, of course, cash.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Court documents give us an idea of how some reconstruction projects got out of control. Some of those papers describe the case of Robert Stein. He was a Defense Department employee for the Coalition Provisional Authority, and he pleaded guilty earlier this year to bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Stein admitted that he directed lucrative reconstruction contracts to companies owned by a man name Philip Bloom. In return, he received gifts from Bloom's companies. Here are some of the gifts he received.

INSKEEP: Five motor vehicles, including a Porsche, Lexus and a Coach House RV.

MONTAGNE: Two properties in North Carolina.

INSKEEP: More than a dozen Breitling watches.

MONTAGNE: A six-carat diamond, a diamond tennis bracelet, a pearl necklace, plus baubles of a different kind.

INSKEEP: Four grenade launchers, 20 automatic submachine guns, 12 pistols, and assorted firearms.

MONTAGNE: And an airplane - a 1965 Cessna T210F, to be precise.

INSKEEP: Court papers say that in return for all these gifts, Robert Stein was prepared to be generous with reconstruction money. At one point, he sent an e-mail to the Defense contractor.

MONTAGNE: The e-mail reads: “I got the contract at the police academy. I will give you 200K sometime tomorrow afternoon. I love to give you money. Bob.”

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