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US Iraq Contractor Pleads Guilty to Fraud


A former U.S. contractor in Iraq has pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy and money laundering involving millions of dollars meant for reconstruction.

Robert Stein entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Washington Thursday.

Stein worked for the Coalition Provision Authority in Iraq, the temporary U.S.-led government, handing out millions of dollars intended to rebuild the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad. Stein admitted he formed a ring of co-conspirators who diverted reconstruction money to such personal use as luxury cars, jewelry and U.S. real estate.

Stein has a prior fraud conviction and it was not immediately clear why he was allowed to control tens of millions of dollars, much of it in cash.

U.S. businessman Philip Bloom and five U.S. servicemen have also been implicated in the scheme.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.