U.S. Charges Civilian Translator With Trying to Bribe Iraqi Police

Associated Press
Saturday, March 25, 2006

U.S. authorities have arrested a translator working in Iraq and charged him with offering a bribe to entice a police official to buy armored vests and other equipment for $1 million.

Faheem Mousa Salam, 27, of Livonia, Mich., was arrested Thursday at Dulles International Airport, the Justice Department said. Salam is an employee of the Titan Corp., a government contractor working in Iraq.

He was released from custody after a hearing yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington. He is due back in court on April 5.

Salam was charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for offering $60,000 to an Iraqi police official who Salam believed could help arrange the purchase of the goods by a police training organization, according to a criminal complaint. Salam said he wanted to sell the group 1,000 vests and a sophisticated map printer, the court papers said.

Salam, described in court papers as a naturalized U.S. citizen, later made similar offers to an undercover investigator who was posing as a purchasing officer for the police group, the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, the complaint said.

Titan Corp. did not immediately comment.

If convicted, Salam faces up to five years in prison and a fine of at least $100,000.

The bribery charge is the latest case to emerge from investigations begun by Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr., who was appointed to look into Iraq reconstruction contracts.

At least seven Americans have been implicated in a separate bribery-and-kickback scheme involving the award of millions of dollars in reconstruction contracts. Robert J. Stein Jr., a former contracting official in Iraq, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to steal more than $2 million in reconstruction money and steer contracts to a businessman in exchange for more than $1 million in cash, cars and jewelry.

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