Iraqi contractor pays $2.7 to settle bribery allegations

by Ben Vernia | November 8th, 2013

On November 7, the Department of Justice announced that an Iraqi company paid $2.7 million to settle civil charges that it bribed an Army officer who pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced earlier this year. According to DOJ’s press release:

Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau (ICCB) has paid the U.S. $2.7 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by bribing a U.S. government official to obtain U.S. government contracts in Iraq, the Department of Justice announced today. ICCB is a privately owned construction company headquartered in Baghdad, Iraq.

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The government alleged that, from 2007 to 2008, ICCB paid bribes to Army Corps of Engineers procurement official John Salama Markus, 41, of Nazareth, Pa., to obtain information that gave it an advantage in bidding on several construction contracts with the Department of Defense in Iraq. The contracts supported reconstruction efforts involving the Iraq war, including infrastructure and security projects and the building of medical facilities and schools. ICCB then knowingly overcharged the U.S. for services provided under the contracts, according to the government’s allegation.

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The settlement is part of a larger investigation initiated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. As part of that investigation, Markus pleaded guilty on Sept. 7, 2012, to wire fraud, money laundering and failure to report a foreign bank account in connection with more than $50 million in contracts awarded to foreign companies in Gulf Region North, Iraq. Markus was sentenced to 13 years in prison on March 12, 2013, in Newark, N.J., federal court.

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