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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Harry Sargeant civil case reads like a spy novel



Harry Sargeant, a one-time Republican political player snared in controversies over a corruption probe and pricey war-time oil shipments, took the witness stand Tuesday in a contract dispute that reads more like a spy novel.

The case is replete with palace intrigue in the desert kingdom of Jordan, $2.7 billion in fuel contracts, a retired CIA agent, a general known as "the pasha," and a federal corruption investigation swirling around Sargeant, who refuses to comment about it.

The civil lawsuit was filed by Jordan King Abdullah II's brother-in-law, Mohammed Al-Saleh, who accused the Delray Beach multimillionaire of cutting him out of the contracts to supply fuel to U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sargeant's defense: Al-Saleh was paid for his work with the International Oil Trading Company. But, Sargeant said, Al-Saleh wasn't entitled to profits from contracts that didn't involve him.

"I don't like losing any contract," Sargeant, a former Marine Corps pilot, said in a gruff baritone. "I like to win as much as I can, like anybody does. I don't care if it's golf, basketball — well I'm not very good at basketball any more."

Story here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:08pm]


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