Open Channel - Did U.S. firm use bribery to land fuel contract for U.S. forces in Iraq?
A lawsuit in Florida has cracked open a rare window into the cloistered world of high-level war contracting, as a billionaire oilman defends himself against allegations that his company paid off Jordanian government officials to control supply lines of fuel to U.S. forces in Iraq.
The controversial businessman at the center of the trial that began last week in Palm Beach is Harry Sargeant III, a retired Top Gun pilot and former GOP fundraiser who is denying the lawsuit’s claim that an ex-CIA agent working at his oil company wired a $9 million bribe to the head of Jordan’s intelligence agency in 2007.
Mohammad al-Saleh, the plaintiff in the case first reported by NBC News in May 2008, is a member of Jordan’s royal family. He claims that the payment was a kickback that helped Sargeant perpetuate a monopoly on shipping fuel though Jordan to U.S. bases in neighboring Iraq.