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BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC News

BBC News, June 10, 2008
Posted: June 18th, 2008

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. The BBC's Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding. A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies. While President George W Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted. To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq. Henry Waxman, who chairs the House committee on oversight and government reform, said: "It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history." In the run-up to the invasion, one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth $7bn that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president. Only Halliburton got to bid. The search for the missing billions also led ... to a house in ... west London where Hazem Shalaan lived until he was appointed to the new Iraqi government as minister of defence in 2004. He and his associates siphoned an estimated $1.2bn out of the ministry. They bought old military equipment from Poland but claimed for top-class weapons. Meanwhile they diverted money into their own accounts. Judge Radhi al-Radhi of Iraq's Commission for Public Integrity investigated. He said: "I believe these people are criminals."

Note: For many other reports on war profiteering, click here.

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