In the latest development in a lengthy federal contracting probe, an Iraqi construction company has paid the U.S. government $2.7 million to resolve allegations that it bribed a former Army Corps of Engineers official to win U.S. contracts in Iraq, the Dept. of Justice has said.
DOJ announced on Nov. 7 that Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau (ICCB), headquartered in Baghdad, had reached the settlement of alleged violations of the False Claims Act.
The department also noted that the claims involved in the agreement are allegations and added that “there has been no determination of liability.” The settlement agreement states that it "is neither an admission of liability by ICCB nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded."
Julian Schreibman, a partner with New York City-based Wachtel Missry LLP, which represented ICCB, told ENR, "We're very pleased to have been able to work through this on a negotiated, collaborative basis with the Dept. of Justice—very pleased to put this in the past and look forward to a very positive relationship and positive activities going forward."
The federal government alleged that from 2007 to 2008, John Alfy Salama Markus, then a Corps contracting officer, received bribes from ICCB in exchange for information about Corps Iraq reconstruction contracts.
According to the settlement agreement, the ICCB charges relate to 10 contracts, for work that includes: security enhancements at the Bayji oil refinery; new health care centers in the Salah ad Din rovince; a landfill in Baqubah; and a 12-room schol in Said Sadiq.
In September 2012, Salama Markus, of Nazareth, Pa., pleaded guilty to three counts of a 54-count indictment, including charges of wire fraud and money laundering, related to more than $50 million in Corps contracts in Iraq.
Salama Markus was sentenced March 12 in federal court in Newark, N.J., to 13 years in prison and agreed to a $3.7-million judgment, which includes forfeiting a $1.1-million home, plus vehicles and motorcycles.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for New Jersey initiated the investigation, DOJ said.