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First Iraq contract civil fraud trial set to start

[JURIST] The principals of a US contracting company accused of defrauding the US government during the Iraq war will appear Tuesday in a federal court in Virginia in the first Iraq contract civil fraud case to go to trial. Scott Custer and Michael Battles were hired by the US government to help distribute a new currency in Iraq and guard [press release] the Baghdad International Airport [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder]. They stand accused of passing inflated invoices through their US-based security firm Custer Battles [corporate website] to defraud the government of millions of dollars.

The case is proceeding under the Federal False Claims Act [text], which allows individuals to sue privately on behalf of the government. In October 2005 the US Department of Justice [official website] declined without comment to join the two former Cluster Battles employee complainants in the case but nonetheless let the suit go ahead. Custer and Battles have denied all wrongdoing [press release]. The trial is focused on the Iraqi currency contract and is expected to last two weeks. The Washington Post has more.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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