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Blackwater founder gives statements in fraud suit

The founder of former Blackwater Worldwide Security firm, Erik Prince, was questioned on Monday in connection with a civil lawsuit alleging the company repeatedly billed the US govt for excessive or inappropriate expenses.



Dubai: The founder of former Blackwater
Worldwide Security firm, Erik Prince, was questioned on Monday in
connection with a civil lawsuit alleging the company
repeatedly billed the US government for excessive or
inappropriate expenses.

Susan Burke, who represents two self-described
whistle-blowers and former employees Brad and Melan Davis,
said she questioned Prince for seven hours in a hotel in Abu
Dhabi, where he moved earlier this month. She said the
questioning related to the "facts underlying the complaint."

"Mr Prince professed a lack of knowledge on a
significant number of topics," Burke said without providing
details of the deposition. "I will not comment on his
testimony. I will leave that to a jury to decide whether his
professions of a lack of knowledge are credible or not."

Prince did not speak with reporters.
The federal lawsuit filed in 2008 by Brad and Melan
Davis claims Blackwater sought reimbursement for a prostitute
for workers in Afghanistan and strippers in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. The lawsuit also claims Prince enjoyed
substantial financial benefits from the alleged fraud. He
founded Blackwater in 1997.

A federal law enforcement official told The
Associated Press earlier this year that federal authorities in
Virginia were investigating whether Blackwater had overbilled
for its State Department work. The official spoke on condition
of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Blackwater or its workers have also faced federal
probes for shootings in Iraq and Afghanistan and accusations
of arms smuggling.

An audit released last year found that the State
Department could have been able to recover USD 55 million from
Blackwater because the company didn`t provide the personnel
necessary to fulfill its contract during the months examined
in 2006 and 2007.

PTI

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