Two American businessmen, George H. Lee and his son, Justin W. Lee, have been charged with giving U.S. Army officers airline tickets, vacations, and over $1 million in bribes to secure multimillion-dollar contracts to provide supplies to the U.S. military and to help rebuild Iraq. Their indictment was unsealed on May 27, 2011.
The Lees join a group of almost 60 contractors and military officers to face criminal charges related to misconduct in obtaining a variety of government contracts in the early part of the Iraq war. Their involvement in the Iraqi contracting scandal has been known for some time, as their company, Lee Dynamics International, has been barred from doing business with the federal government since July 2007.
Documents filed in the criminal proceeding against George and Justin Lee allege that the Lees provided $225,000 in bribes to one unnamed Army Major (identified as “Person One”) in exchange for the officer directing over $14 million in contracts to Lee Dynamics. The description of “Person One” in the indictment closely matches that of Maj. Gloria D. Davis, who shot and killed herself in Baghdad in December 2006 after admitting to investigators that she had taken the $225,000 in bribes from the Lees’ company.
The indictment also ties the Lees to another corrupt Army officer, Maj. John Cockerham, who was recently sentenced to 17 years in prison for taking over $9.6 million in bribes while working at a contracting office in Kuwait. The government has charged George and Justin Lee with providing at least $1 million to Major Cockerham in exchange for being funneled contracts to provide American troops with bottled water, bunk beds, and mattresses.
For more information see: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/middleeast/31iraq.html?_r=1