Feds probe Iraqi electric plant contract

Dec. 3, 2006 at 11:51 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Federal authorities are looking into an Iraqi power plant deal involving one of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's top fundraisers.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Antoin "Tony" Rezko is believed to have been defrauding Illinois taxpayers.

Investigators want to talk with Aiham Alsammarae, Iraq's jailed former electricity minister, on how Rezko landed the lucrative contract.

Alsammarae, who holds duel U.S.-Iraqi citizenship, attended the Illinois Institute of Technology with Rezko in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Sun-Times reported that the fact that Alsammarae and Rezko knew each other is of great concern.

Alsammarae is jailed for corruption, the newspaper said.

The contract in question reportedly provided that Rezko and others were to own an electricity plant in the northern Iraqi city of Chamchamal. They would then sell the electricity back to Iraqis.

The contract, negotiated in 2004, is no longer is effect.

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