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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

U.S. Civilian Translator Sentenced for Offering Bribes

A former U.S. Army civilian translator was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to bribe a senior Iraqi police official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor of the District of Columbia announced.

Faheem Mousa Salam, 29, of Livonia, Mich., a U.S. citizen, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Judge Richard Leon.

Salam was arrested on March 23, 2006 at Dulles International Airport outside Washington upon his return from Iraq, and pleaded guilty on August 4, 2006 to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Salam admitted that in January 2006, while working in Baghdad as a civilian translator for a U.S. Army subcontractor, he offered a senior Iraqi police official $60,000 in exchange for the official's assistance in facilitating the purchase of 1,000 armored vests and a sophisticated map printer for a sale price of approximately $1 million. Salam requested the official use his position with the Iraqi police force to coordinate the sale of the material to the multinational Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT), an organization designed to train the Iraqi police and border guard in Iraq.

Salam admitted that he later made final arrangements with an undercover agent of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction who was posing as a procurement officer for CPATT. Salam admitted that during the subsequent discussions with the undercover agenthe offered a separate $28,000 to $35,000 "gift" to the agent to process the contracts.

At sentencing, the government argued that Salam was motivated by greed and the prospect of financial gain, rather than any desire to provide the Iraqi troops with equipment; in fact, Salam made no attempt to check the brand names, quality or source of the vests, demonstrating that his motives were anything but altruistic, prosecutors say.

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