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Old February 3rd 06, 01:12 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default anouther Scandal Story

In the United States, a former official has admitted stealing millions
of dollars meant for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Robert Stein held a senior position in the Coalition Provisional
Authority, which administered Iraq after American and allied forces
invaded in 2003.

In a Washington court, he admitted to stealing more than $2m (1.12m)
and taking bribes in return for contracts.

He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Robert Stein's story is one of extraordinary corruption and excess amid
the ruins of Iraq.

He was in charge of overseeing money for the rebuilding of shattered
infrastructure in south-central Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

Suitcases of cash

Mr Stein admitted in court to conspiring to give out contracts worth
$8m to a certain company in return for bribes.

He also received gifts and sexual favours lavished on him at a special
villa in Baghdad.

But it didn't stop there.

Robert Stein admitted to stealing $2m from reconstruction funds.

Some of that money, the court heard, was smuggled onto aircraft and
flown back to the United States in suitcases.

The case is an ugly twist in the tale of post-war Iraq.

The Coalition Provisional Authority, which ceased to exist in 2004, has
already endured some tough criticism over the way it managed funds and
handed out contracts.

A report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction on
how the authority went about its business is expected in the coming
weeks.

The signs are it could make embarrassing reading for many of those
involved.


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