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Justice Dept. says Iraq fraud can be tried in U.S.

The United States Dept. of Justice has filed a brief arguing that fraud claims arising from contracts issued in Iraq can be tried in federal courts in this country.

A lawsuit involving alleged fraud by contractor Custer Battles was filed by private whistleblowers in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Lawyers for the defendant have argued that the case should be dismissed because the contract was paid using Iraqi funds and was administered by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

The government has not joined the suit, which the whistleblowers brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

The Los Angeles Times reported on these developments on April 2, 2005.

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