Polish officers charged with bribery in Iraq

Polish prosecutors have charged nine officers and five civilians with taking bribes while serving in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Those in the group were charged with "making illegal profits," and will be tried before the Military Court in Warsaw, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Prosecutors opened an investigation after two Polish officers were found returning from Iraq in early February with a total of US$90,000 (Ђ67,240) between them - a sum that far exceeded what they could have saved on their salaries.

Investigators have recovered US$232,000 (Ђ186,000) during questioning in Poland and Iraq, the statement said.

The suspects could face prison terms of between eight and 12 years if convicted.

Poland, a strong U.S. ally, commands a multinational security force in central Iraq that now numbers 4,000 troops, including some 1,000 Poles. Poland is to withdraw its troops at the start of 2006< the AP reports.

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