Saturday, September 22, 2007

More questions about First Kuwaiti

First Corruption Kuwaiti is in trouble again, this time for a kickback scheme in which it is alleged that the company arranged to pay a $200,000 kickback for two additional, unrelated projects in Iraq.

...a now-sealed court document obtained by The Associated Press, allegedly involved First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting and a manager for Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. or KBR, a firm hired to handle logistics for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The document summarizes grand jury testimony from the former KBR manager, Anthony J. Martin, who pleaded guilty in July to taking kickbacks in 2003.

Although the government has tried to keep First Kuwaiti's name out of public records related to Martin's case, details from his grand jury testimony were found by a defense lawyer, J. Scott Arthur of Orland Park, Ill., who included a summary in a six-page document filed last Friday in an unrelated federal court case in Rock Island, Ill. The AP downloaded a copy of the document from the court's Web site shortly before a judge ordered the document sealed and removed from the public record.

According to the court document, Martin testified to a federal grand jury that he engaged in the kickback scheme with Lebanese businessman Wadih Al Absi, who controls First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting. The company is building the $592 million Baghdad embassy, the largest in the world with working space for about 1,000 people.
These questions come amid the House Oversight Committee investigating the Inspector General for State over allegations the IG stifled investigations into acts of malfeasance by First Kuwaiti. The company is closely tied to Kellogg, Brown & Root, which was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the war-profiteering company formerly headed by Dick Cheney. Amid investigations coming to light, Halliburton has divested itself of KBR.