Iraqi Says GE Winked at Corruption
HOUSTON (CN) - General Electric's former "country executive for Iraq" claims GE fired him for warning about its "potential violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ... in pursuing a lucrative, multi-year contract with the Iraqi government."
Khaled Asadi, a dual citizen of the United States and Iraq, sued G.E. Energy (USA) in Federal Court.
Asadi says he worked for G.E. in Amman, Jordan, as it country executive for Iraq.
"As the Country Executive, the plaintiff was required to maintain close interaction and coordination with Iraq's central governing bodies," the complaint states.
"On or about June of 2010 Mr. Asadi was alerted by a source in the Iraqi government that G.E. had hired a woman closely associated with the Senior Deputy Minister of Electricity (Iraq) to curry favor with the Ministry while in negotiation for a Sole Source Joint Venture Contract with the Ministry of Electricity.
"Concerned that the hiring of this 'female associate' could be damaging to GE's reputation and potentially violate the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), Mr. Asadi immediately objected to the hiring and raised this issue with his supervisor.
"He, along with a colleague from GE's Oil and Gas division, took the concern a step further by raising the issue with the Ombudsperson for G.E.
"In direct response to his actions, Mr. Asadi's immediate supervisor began pressuring him to step down from his position with G.E. The plaintiff was offered several alternatives including the possibility of a new assignment within the region.
"Shortly after his discussion with the Ombudsperson, Mr. Asadi received an extremely negative and troubling performance review. While no significant employment issues were identified in the review, the company began aggressive negotiations for the plaintiff's departure from the company.
"These negotiations continued until the defendant abruptly ended discussions and terminated the plaintiff's employment on June 24, 2011." (Parentheses in complaint.)
Asadi seeks reinstatement, costs and damages for whistleblower retaliation, violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, lost wages, future wages, the cost of moving back to the United States, and emotional distress.
He is represented by Ronald Dupree.
GE rejected Asadi's allegations in a statement to Courthouse News Service. "Mr. Asadi's termination had absolutely nothing to do with any allegations he is making," spokesman Sean Gannon said. "Regarding our contracts in Iraq, GE followed all requirements and his allegations are false."