Former Tamimi Global Executive Convicted of Witness Tampering Following Reinstatement of Charges
Mohammad Shabbir Khan, the former director of operations in Kuwait and Iraq for Tamimi Global Company, a Saudi Arabian company, has been convicted of witness tampering and conspiracy to commit witness tampering. The verdict followed a one-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade in the Central District of Illinois on Aug. 10, 2009. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
In June 2006, a grand jury returned a 16-count indictment charging Khan with 12 counts of wire fraud, and one count each of money laundering, making a false statement, witness tampering conspiracy and witness tampering. On June 26, 2006, based on a written plea agreement, Khan pleaded guilty to all counts except the two pertaining to witness tampering. On Dec. 8, 2006, Khan was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and, based on the plea agreement, the two witness tampering counts were dismissed on the government’s motion.
On Oct. 29, 2008, the government filed a motion with the court to void the plea agreement alleging that Khan had breached the terms of the plea agreement. In the motion, the government alleged that Khan transferred several million dollars from foreign bank accounts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere, to his brother in Pakistan rather than to his attorney in Chicago as was required by his plea agreement. Terms of the plea agreement required Khan to transfer assets valued at $5,000 or more that he owned or otherwise controlled outside the United States into the trust and control of his attorney in the United States.
On April 1, 2009, Judge McDade reinstated the two witness tampering counts of the indictment after finding that the government had proven that Khan substantially breached the terms of the plea agreement by causing the transfer of the funds in his Dubai bank accounts to his brother’s account in Pakistan.
Khan had previously admitted to paying kickbacks of $133,000 to a Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. (KBR) employee to secure two military dining subcontracts valued at $21.8 million for Tamimi Global Company: a $14.4 million subcontract at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; and a $7.4 million subcontract at a palace in Baghdad, Iraq. Khan had also pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy and false statement offenses related to a scheme by Khan and another former Tamimi manager to cover up the kickback payments Khan had made to the former KBR employee. Stephen Seamans, the former KBR employee, previously pleaded guilty in the Central District of Illinois for crimes related to this matter.
Evidence presented by the government at trial on Aug. 10, 2009, included a meeting on Oct. 28, 2005, in London, England, between Khan; the other Tamimi manager, Zubair Khan; and Seamans. During the meeting, Seamans was provided with a story to cover up the kickback payments previously paid to him that was consistent with what the Tamimi employees had previously told federal authorities. Zubair Khan remains a fugitive.
The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) is a U.S. Army program that uses civilian contractors to support the logistical needs of U.S. military forces. As part of the program, the U.S. Army Operations Support Command, with headquarters at the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Ill., awarded the LOGCAP III prime contract to KBR in December 2001. The Army Field Support Command, also at the Rock Island Arsenal, administered the contract.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph A. Capone of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Cannon of the Central District of Illinois.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Springfield, Ill., Division; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office; New Scotland Yard Metropolitan Police Service; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Central Field Office, St. Louis, Mo.; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, North Central Fraud Field Office, Detroit, Mich.; and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force.
The National Procurement Fraud Task Force, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity
for national security and other government programs.