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[casi] NEWSWEEK "The $87 Billion Money Pit"

Newsweek, November 3 issue
The $87 Billion Money Pit

" .... American companies are barred by law from paying bribes or taking
kickbacks abroad. But Iraq is still largely a lawless place. And one company
director for a British firm doing business in Baghdad says that makes all
the difference. “I’ve never seen corruption like this by expatriate
businessmen. It’s like a feeding frenzy,” he says. One prominent Iraqi
businessman said he was told he’d have to raise his bid by $750,000 to get a
major contract, so long as he kicked back that amount to the contractor’s
rep. The businessman refused to identify the contractor, but did say, “No
Iraqi would ask for a bribe that big.” NEWSWEEK witnessed such behavior
directly: An Iraqi-Anglo joint venture did a relatively small job in the
magazine’s Baghdad bureau. When a final price had been agreed, the company’s
Iraqi manager said, “Shall we add a commission of 10 percent?” Commission?
“Well, you would keep that of course,” he said. In other words, a kickback.
When NEWSWEEK declined, he said, “You’re the first one who didn’t want a
commission.” .... .."

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