Irvine Man, Associate Indicted for Alleged Army Graft Attempt

AP, July 31, 2009

A federal grand jury has indicted an Irvine man and an associate for allegedly trying to bribe a U.S. Army contracting official with $1 million to win a road construction project in Afghanistan, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Rohullah Farooqi Lodin of Irvine and Hashmatullah Farooqi of New York City are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud and commit an offense against the United States and one count of attempting to bribe a public official.

The indictment, filed in federal court in Virginia, alleges that the men offered $1 million in bribes to an Army captain, who is not named in the court documents.

In exchange, the officer was to help disqualify lower bidders to build a road in Logar province and award the project to two general contracting firms in Afghanistan.

Lodin and Farooqi allegedly claimed to represent the companies, which each submitted $18-million bids for the work.

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According to the indictment, on at least four occasions in May, Lodin and Farooqi met with the Army captain, who was the public official responsible for managing the emergency program in Logar, which is south of Kabul.

Lodin and Farooqi allegedly said they had political connections and could arrange for the blacklisting of lower-priced bidders whose offers were ranked ahead of theirs. The indictment says Lodin and Farooqi discussed several options for paying the officer, including wiring him the $1 million through a bank account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, or Bangkok, Thailand.

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