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US Businessman and Official Involved in Iraq's Reconstruction Charged With Graft

A U.S. businessman and a former occupation official in Iraq have been charged in a scheme in which coalition authorities were bribed in exchange for reconstruction contracts.

U.S. authorities Thursday announced that Robert Stein, who worked with the Coalition Provisional Authority, is one of the officials who received kickbacks from American businessman Philip Bloom.

Mr. Bloom, who authorities say controlled three companies, was charged late Wednesday in Washington federal court with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to U.S. occupation officials in Iraq and their spouses.

A government affidavit says the contracts secured by Mr. Bloom were awarded in early 2004 and were worth about $3.5 million.

There have been allegations of corruption in the coalition government, which ran Iraq from just after the March 2003 invasion until June 2004.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.