Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Leighton alerts police on possible Iraq bribery

Rueters Melbourne Australia  February 13, 2012

Leighton Holdings , Australia’s top contractor, has alerted the Australian Federal Police to possible bribery by a subsidiary pressing for work to expand Iraq’s oil export facilities, the company said on Monday.

“We are cooperating fully with the AFP as they conduct an investigation into these matters,” said Mr Johns

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Army Bribery Ring Rolled Up

Courthouse News January 10, 2012

(CN) – A former Army major was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for bribery and money laundering in war contracts in Iraq.
Eddie Pressley, 41, was also ordered to forfeit $21 million, real estate and several automobiles. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins in Birmingham, Ala.
Pressley and his wife Eurica were convicted in March 2011 of conspiracy to commit bribery, eight counts of honest services fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and 11 counts of engaging in monetary transactions with criminal proceeds. No date has been set for his wife’s sentencing.
“Mr. Pressley participated in a wide-ranging scheme to steer U.S. Army contracts to particular providers in exchange for personal, illegal profit,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
“Taking in nearly $3 million, he enlisted his wife to help him conceal the nature of his bribes and created phony paperwork to keep the scheme going.”

Please read the story in detail here

January 10, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Contractors Arrested, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Senator blasts DoD for handling of contracts in Afghanistan

by Michelle Stein at Federal Times   July 1, 2011

Finding the party responsible for oversight of contractors in Afghanistan is “like I’m boxing ghosts” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Thursday.

“The sad thing about this hearing is that I’d been hopeful back in 2007 that by this year we would have done a lot to overcome some of the problems in reconstruction contracts,” said McCaskill, who chairs the ad hoc Senate subcommittee looking into allegations of bribery, mishandling of funds, and the lack of accountability throughout the contractor system.

“This hearing does not make me feel good about the progress we’ve made,” she said. “There has been some progress, but the American people cannot afford this anymore.”

Please read the entire story at Federal Times

July 1, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Long Path to Courtroom for War Contractor Accused of Bribery

by T Christian Miller at Propublica June 1, 2011

For proof that the wheels of justice turn slowly for private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sometimes bog down all together, look no further than the indictment [1] this week of George H. Lee, American businessman.

A federal grand jury indicted Lee on charges that he allegedly paid bribes to military officers to win contracts for his company, Lee Dynamics International. The company, a family affair that included Lee’s son, Justin W. Lee (also indicted this week), provided bottled water, food, living quarters, and all kinds of everyday items that form the backbone of a military logistical operation. George Lee also stands accused of setting up fake bank accounts, buying airplane tickets for contracting officials, and sending them on spa trips.

According to prosecutors, Lee’s wrongdoing began back in 2004 — almost seven years ago.

Several military officials were held accountable for their roles in his schemes long ago. Maj. John Cockerham pleaded guilty to taking millions of dollars in bribes from Lee and received a 17-year prison sentence [2]. Maj. Gloria Davis killed herself shortly after allegedly confessing to authorities that she had taken a $225,000 payment from Lee.

But it has proven exceptionally difficult to bring Lee himself to justice. Even the indictments this week do not signal the end of the hunt. Lee remains at large, perhaps in Kuwait or Dubai [3]. His son is expected to appear in court in the U.S. The government barred Lee Dynamics from receiving further contracts in 2007.

The case provides further evidence of how difficult it is to secure convictions against private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, no matter how severe the crime. A number of private security guards accused of killing civilians have escaped sanction. Most notably, a judge dismissed [4] all charges in 2009 against five guards from the firm Blackwater for killing 17 Iraqis in a well-publicized shooting in Nisour square.

After nearly a decade of war, few mechanisms exist to investigate wrongdoing by the private sector, despite increasing reliance on contractors by the U.S. military. Attempts to bring private contractors under the military justice system have stalled. When federal investigators with the FBI or the inspectors general for Iraq and Afghanistan have attempted to collect evidence for cases filed in civilian courts, they have struggled to meet the demands of the American justice system.

We’ve annotated the indictment [1] to note highlights of the case and what it shows about difficulty of achieving accountability under the largest, most expensive U.S. reconstruction effort since the Marshall Plan.

Please see the original at ProPublica

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Iraq | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jury finds Major Eddie Pressley Eurica Pressley guilty in solder bribery case

Former Army Major Eddie Pressley and wife Eurica found guilty on 22 charges


It took a federal jury in Alabama less than a day to convict a former US Army major and his wife of 22 counts of bribery, fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering on Tuesday.

Maj. Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica, of Harvest, Ala., were accused of accepting $2.8 million in bribes between 2004 and 2006. Now, each faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison, US officials said.

The case against the Pressleys arose from a corruption probe focusing on , a US military base in Kuwait. The Pressleys were the first people in the case to go to trial.

Previously, 14 people had pleaded guilty to a mix of charges. Eight were former officers or enlisted personnel.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – A jury found a Harvest couple guilty of 22 counts of bribery Tuesday.

U.S. Army Major Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica took $2.8 million in bribes from a civilian defense contractor in exchange for $9.3 million in Department of Defense contracts in Iraq and Kuwait.

Those included deals for bottled water and security fencing in Iraq and Kuwait.

The couple bought cars, property and homes with the money, and set up bank accounts to launder the payoffs in Dubai, the Caymans and in Madison. Please see the original here

March 1, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Iraq | , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada hiring shady security in Afghanistan

OTTAWA Winnipeg Free Press-– Canada spent more than $41 million on hired guns in Afghanistan over four years, much of it going to security companies slammed by the U.S. Senate for having warlords on the payroll.

The Defence and Foreign Affairs departments have employed 11 security contractors in Kabul and Kandahar since 2006 but have kept quiet about the details.

Now documents tabled in Parliament at the request of the New Democrats show Foreign Affairs paid nearly $8 million to ArmorGroup Securities Ltd., recently cited in a U.S. Senate investigation as relying on Afghan warlords who in 2007 were engaged in “murder, kidnapping, bribery and anti-Coalition activities.

The company, which has since been taken over by G4S Risk Management, provided security around the Canadian Embassy in Kabul and guarded diplomats.

Tundra SCA stands on guard for the Defence Department outside Canadian military forward operating bases and has collected more than $5.3 million.

The U.S. Senate report included Tundra on a list of companies that poach staff from Afghan security forces, angering President Hamid Karzai. Please see the original here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, G4S, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-military contractor gets prison for bribery

Chron AP Texas News

HOUSTON — A former senior employee of a U.S. military employee got a three-year-and-one-month prison sentence for her part in a conspiracy to bribe Army contracting officials at a U.S. base in Kuwait.

Dorothy Ellis was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to bribe public officials. U.S. District Judge David Hittner of Houston also ordered the 53-eyar-old Texas City woman to serve three years of probation and pay $360,000 in restitution. She’s the 14th of 16 people charged in the case to plead guilty.

Maj. Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica Pressley are scheduled for trial in a Decatur, Ala., federal court Jan. 31. They allegedly took $2.8 million in bribes from a contractor who delivered bottled water and building fences in Kuwait and Iraq.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, Kuwait | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Australian Gov Urges Speedy Extradition of Neil Campbell

Gov’t urges speedy Campbell extradition

AAP The Sydney Morning Herald December 29, 2010 – 11:44AM

The federal government has requested a speedy extradition of an Australian man to the United States to face charges of soliciting bribes.

Building contractor Neil Campbell is accused of soliciting a $US190,000 ($A188,585) bribe to build schools and hospitals in Afghanistan between May and August 2010.

The 61-year-old Queenslander had been working for an International Organisation for Migration panel in Kabul that selected Afghan subcontractors at the time.

He was arrested on October 13 at an Indian airport, following an undercover US sting, and has since been held in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar Prison.

An Indian court recommended his extradition to the US to face charges on December 21, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed.

Mr Campbell, who faces 10 years’ jail if found guilty, has not contested the extradition.

“The Australian government urges the US and Indian authorities to handle the extradition process expeditious,” a DFAT spokeswoman told AAP on Wednesday, adding that the Australian government could not interfere with foreign judicial processes.

Consular officers had visited Mr Campbell in detention on nine occasions since his arrest and attended all 11 of his court appearances, the spokeswoman said.

Officials in Canberra also had been in frequent contact with his family to update them on his welfare and legal situation  Please see the original story here

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ret. Navy officer, contractor enter guilty pleas to Iraq bribery scheme

Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. — A retired Navy officer and a contractor have entered guilty pleas in Virginia to paying bribes to obtain U.S. government contracts for work in Iraq.

According to the government, retired Lt. Cmdr. Frankie J. Hand Jr. of Chesapeake entered his plea Tuesday before a magistrate in Norfolk. The other plea was entered by 44-year-old Michelle L. Adams of Miami.

Prosecutors said 48-year-old Hand developed a relationship with Adams while stationed at Camp Taji near Baghdad in 2007. He allegedly obtained competing contractors’ bids and bribed Navy personnel to help Adams’ companies obtain contracts worth more than $757,000.

Hand also received thousands of dollars in kickbacks on the contracts.

Hand and Adams are scheduled for sentencing in March. Each faces 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Please see the original report here

December 8, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq | , , , , | Leave a comment

2 charged in Iraq contract bribery case


NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 13 (UPI) — A former U.S. employee and a foreign contractor were charged Wednesday with conspiring to bribe a public official to win lucrative contracts in Iraq.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a release federal agents arrested former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer John Alfy Salama Markus, aka John Salama, at his home in Nazareth, Pa. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official and to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering. Salama, 38, was to appear before a federal magistrate in Newark, N.J.

Ahmed Nouri, aka “Ahmed Bahjat,” a 40-year-old British citizen who is vice president of operations for Iraqi Consultants & Construction Bureau, was still at large. He is charged in the bribery count of the criminal complaint with conspiring with Salama.

Nouri’s firm is a privately owned foreign engineering and construction company that has been awarded millions in Iraqi reconstruction contracts.

“Given the opportunity to build a better future for people in that country, Salama, an employee of the Army Corp of Engineers, negotiated kickbacks to build himself a house,” Fishman said.

Federal authorities allege that between 2007 and 2008 Salama funneled confidential bidding information to ICCB through Nouri and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes from ICCB through Nouri in return.

Original story here

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family fears for Briton held in violent Afghan jail

TimesOnline Jerome Starkey  Kabul

The family of a former British army officer jailed in Afghanistan on corruption charges have spoken of their fears for his safety after visiting him in one of the country’s most violent jails.

Bill Shaw, 52, was sentenced in April to two years in prison and fined $25,000 (£17,000) when a court found him guilty of trying to bribe an Afghan official. The former Royal Military Policeman was a manager of G4S, a security company that guards the British Embassy in Kabul.

Shaw was arrested with an Afghan colleague after handing over $25,000 for the release of two impounded vehicles. In court he said he thought it was a legitimate release fee, paid to a uniformed Afghan official. “He has been a victim of something set up,” said his daughter Lisa, 32, who travelled to Kabul with her mother Liz, 51, on Monday. Kimberley Motley, an American lawyer, is mounting Shaw’s appeal.

President Karzai has been repeatedly criticised for failing to reduce corruption within his Government. Although he referred to it as a cancer, he maintains that the West is just as guilty

The country’s courts are notoriously opaque, justice can often be bought, and judges can be influenced by warlords, religious leaders or power brokers. In many parts of the country, Afghans turn to the Taleban who offer strict Islamic law, because it is preferable to the lengthy, expensive and often unfathomable state alternative. Shaw was convicted by a panel of three judges despite the prosecution’s failure to present witnesses.  Read the full story here

Thanks to Feral Jundi for the heads up on this

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taliban protection payoffs denied by contractor

Afghan MP suggests bribery a fact of life

Allegations that a private security firm has been bribing Taliban and other insurgents to ensure safe passage for NATO convoys in Afghanistan are being denied by a key player in the business.

Kabul-based Watan Risk Management was among the private companies fingered in recent media reports alleging that the firms are paying off insurgents to protect supply routes, essentially funnelling international funds to the very groups troops are fighting against.

“We want to clear our position,” Watan Group’s owner, Ahmad Rateb Popal, told the CBC’s Amanda Lang in an exclusive interview in Dubai.

“I know every penny, where we are spending it, where it’s coming from and where it goes. And none of it is going to the Taliban.”

Popal heads Watan Group, a consortium, while his brother Rashid Popal runs its military arm Watan Risk Management.

Among the company’s contracts is the protection of supply convoys travelling Highway 1, a key Afghanistan road linking the cities of Kabul and Kandahar, located in the province of Kandahar, where most Canadian troops are located.

Experts question claims

Popal argues it would be impossible to pay off the patchwork of insurgent groups attacking the supply routes, since there’s no single commander.

Watan Risk Management also has the highest casualty rate among private security firms, he notes, with an average of 50 deaths per month between May and October 2009.

But some experts don’t buy Popal’s denials.

Afghan member of parliament Nur-ul-haq Olomi, former chair of the government’s defence affairs committee, paints bribery as simply a fact of life in the war-torn country.

“Security company, without paying that money, cannot keep safe … this kind of convoy,” Olomi said.  Read the full story here

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Wartime Contracting | , , , , | Leave a comment