Man detained on bribery charges for Afghan project

A construction manager accused of soliciting a $190,000 bribe for U.S.-funded work on the construction of a hospital and college in Afghanistan was arrested Wednesday in India.

An indictment filed against Australian Neil Campbell in August in U.S. District Court in Washington was unsealed after he was detained in New Delhi by agents with India's Central Bureau of Investigation. He faces extradition to the United States and up to 10 years in prison if convicted on a bribery charge.

Campbell, 60, was an agent of the International Organization on Migration, an intergovernmental organization that received money from the U.S. Agency for International Development for reconstruction in Afghanistan. Part of his duties included serving on a panel that selected subcontractors for construction projects.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington, which is prosecuting the case, said Campbell solicited a $190,000 bribe this summer to allow an unidentified construction company in Afghanistan to continue working on the construction of a hospital and provincial teacher training college. The subcontractor had been awarded $13.4 million for the hospital and $1.9 million for the college.

The indictment says Campbell met in July in Kabul with an undercover investigator with USAID's Office of Inspector General posing as an official with the subcontractor. The document said Campbell demanded the payment for getting the subcontracting company the work, saying, "$190,000 is nothing for the risk I am taking." The indictment says Campbell asked for a cash payment instead of a wire transfer that could be detected by law enforcement.

The undercover officer delivered $10,000 a month later, and Campbell instructed him to text him when he was ready to bring him a suitcase with the remaining $180,000 in a single cash payment.