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Former US official to plead guilty in Iraq reconstruction bribe scheme

[JURIST] A former US official with the Coalition Provisional Authority [official website] in Iraq has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges that he stole over $2 million in rebuilding funds and awarded contracts to an American businessman in exchange for more than $1 million in cash and goods. Robert Stein, Jr. [Wikipedia profile] admitted his role in the conspiracy in a signed document filed in a US District Court, which indicates that he used the stolen money to purchase jewelry, machine guns, cars, and an airplane, and was also given plane tickets, alcohol, cigars, and cash for awarding contracts to construction companies owned by Philip Bloom [Wikipedia profile]. Stein's signed statement includes e-mails between the two men which discuss the fake contracts and list a new police academy and renovated library as some of the projects given to Bloom's companies. Bloom also faces federal conspiracy and money laundering charges [JURIST report] and five US Army officers were allegedly involved [JURIST report] in the scheme. Stein is expected to appear in court Thursday to enter his guilty plea. AP has more.

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