Italy probe unearths huge Iraq arms deal

In a hidden corner of Rome’s busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler’s checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.


The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command — a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.

Published in: on August 12, 2007 at 2:35 pm  Comments (2)  

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    British firm under scrutiny for export of Bosnian guns to Iraq
    MPs and Amnesty International demand to know if a Nottingham-based company has breached the United Nations arms embargo
    Jamie Doward and Johnny McDevitt
    Sunday August 12, 2007
    The Observer

    The government was facing awkward questions last night over an arms deal involving a British company licensed by the Department of Trade and Industry to import weapons but which was also selling machine guns to an Iraqi official later implicated in an alleged $1.1bn (£545m) corruption scandal.

    A committee of MPs and Amnesty International have both demanded to know whether the deal breaches either the UN arms embargo on Iraq or British government export laws. They want to know who was involved in the deal and what safeguards are in place to ensure arms exports negotiated by British companies through foreign intermediaries reach their intended destination.

    Documents obtained by The Observer show Procurement Management Services (PMS) had a contract to provide assault rifles to Ziad Cattan, the former head of military procurement at the Iraq Defence Ministry.

    US bill for Iraq private security soars
    By Jeremy Grant in Washington
    Last updated: August 13 2007 03:00

    Two British companies providing security to US army engineers on reconstruction duty in Iraq were paid over $200m more than was agreed in their original contracts, according to a report published in the US. Aegis Defence Services, headed by a retired British army officer, Tim Spicer, and Erinys Iraq were awarded contracts totalling $548m (€400m, £270m) in 2004. But costs under the contracts had risen by more than $200m, the Washington Post reported, underlining the unprecedented use of private security companies amid troop shortages and surging violence in Iraq.

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