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US veterans accuse drug majors of bribing Iraqi officials

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US veterans accuse drug majors of bribing Iraqi officials

Johnson & Johnson, Roche Holding AG, Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca PLC and General Electric Co. are facing a civil lawsuit from several American veterans and relatives of soldiers wounded or killed in Iraq, the Financial Times reported.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Washington, claims the companies bribed officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Health following the 2003 US-led invasion of the country to win supply contracts.

The ministry was reportedly controlled by Jaysh al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army, which killed U.S. soldiers. The bribes helped fund the terrorist militia's acquisition of weapons, training and logistical support, according to the complaint.

As a result, the lawsuit accuses the companies of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act and seeks damages.

While the Mahdi Army is not designated by the U.S government as a terrorist group, the lawsuit says its attacks were backed by Hezbollah, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist group.