Security firm in Iraq 'tried to bribe officials with $1m'

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The Independent US

The private security firm once known as Blackwater offered as much as $1m (£600,000) in bribes to Iraqi officials to dampen their criticism after employees killed 17 people in Baghdad in 2007 and the firm feared losing its contracts with the US government, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper said the allegations were made anonymously by four former senior executives. The company has since renamed itself Xe Services and is still the target of a civil lawsuit filed by dozens of Iraqis. A putative settlement fell apart yesterday.

The bribe money was allegedly approved by the ex-Blackwater president Gary Jackson, who resigned this year. A company spokesman last night dismissed the claims as "baseless".