Iraqi government officials extradited a U.S. Defense Department contractor to Ohio to face federal fraud charges on Monday. The suspect is the first person to ever be extradited by Baghdad to the United States since the two nations entered into an extradition treaty in 1936.
Metin Atilan, a former DOD contractor is charged by federal law enforcement with fraud, conspiracy and bribery. The 54-year-old CEO allegedly attempted to bribe U.S. defense officials in order to get government contracts for his companies as part of the rebuilding effort following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Atilan was originally indicted and charged on June 10, 2008, with conspiracy to engage in contract fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, and wire fraud. According to Justice Department and Interpol officials, Atilan is president and chief executive officer of PMA Services Ltd. of Las Vegas and Kayteks Ltd. of Adna, Turkey. Atilan is a citizen of both nations.
According to the investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), starting in 2006 through 2008, Atilan offered bribes and kickbacks so that his U.S. and Turkish companies could obtain contracts for construction projects being supervised by the U.S. military in Iraq.
While his U.S. company is based in Nevada, Ohio has jurisdiction in the case since a number of the Defense Department contracting officials approached with bribes were stationed in Dayton, Ohio.
Atilan taken into custody by FBI agents in Las Vegas on May 23, 2008 and he was Atilan released to await trial wearing an electronic monitoring device. But after illegally removing the device he fled the United States on June 15, 2008 and was the subject of an international manhunt..
“This case is a tremendous example of a successfully organized and cooperative law enforcement effort put forth by the FBI, DCIS, Interpol and the Iraqi government,” said Special Agent in Charge Kevin Cornelius.