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Firm Admits Rigging Bids

September 7, 2000

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ A company pleaded guilty Thursday to rigging bids on contracts for U.S.-funded construction projects in Egypt, the second business to admit fraud in an ongoing federal investigation.

American International Contractors Inc., based in Arlington, Va., was fined $4.2 million by a federal judge in Birmingham.

Last month, a German firm, Philipp Holzmann AG, was fined $30 million after pleading guilty to rigging bids on contracts funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The case involves bids made on wastewater treatment facilities from June 1988 to at least January 1995.

Holzmann had been accused of paying a ``loser’s fee″ to companies that agreed either to artificially inflate their bids or not bid at all, allowing Holzmann to win the contracts.

American International received $107 million for not bidding, U.S. Justice Department officials said in a statement.

Prosecutors have declined to identify other companies involved.

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