Military Handed Shady Kyrgyz Firms $1.4B
Companies possibly run by corrupt, deposed despots
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2010 8:43 AM CDT
A US air force plane seen at the air base Manas near the capital Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, April 15, 2010. Mina Corp. Ltd. supplied the base with fuel.   (AP Photo/Nina Gorshkova)

(Newser) – The Pentagon has doled out $1.4 billion in no-bid contracts to a pair of mysterious foreign companies with alleged ties to Kyrgyzstan's corrupt ex-president, the military's main supply agency confirmed for Newsweek. The companies, Mina Corp. Ltd. and Red Star Enterprises, provided fuel for the US air base in Kyrgyzstan, and, according to one investigative reporter, the deals were “an indirect way for the Pentagon to bribe the ruling families of Kyrgyzstan.”

In a recent hearing, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform launched an investigation into the ties between the companies and the family of ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was deposed in a popular uprising last month. One human rights professor testified that he had personally seen Bakiyev's son socializing with a retired US Army officer listed as Red Star's “director of operations.” Bakiyev's political enemies say he skimmed millions off the fuel sales.