- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2003

BAGHDAD (AP) Military detectives are investigating five American soldiers in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a cache of money in Iraq, a commanding officer said yesterday.
U.S. forces have recovered more than $600 million from hiding places near Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's palace complexes in central Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp, commander of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment.
But along the way, a few U.S. troops apparently tried to stash hundreds of thousands of dollars, in $100 bills, for themselves, Col. DeCamp said.
"We've recovered just about all the money we thought was taken. We're still looking into it," he said.
U.S. troops found $656 million hidden in four walled-up cottages, the London Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. The newspaper reported that soldiers were suspected of trying to siphon off nearly $13 million of the hoard.
The money was in aluminum cases filled with $100 bills. Each case bore the seal of Saddam's Ba'ath Party. After checking the containers, it became clear someone had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars, and officers began looking for that money.
A soldier familiar with the inquiry put the figure of missing money at an estimated $900,000. The soldier spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, which is responsible for investigating serious crimes involving American troops, has opened a case, and five soldiers have been questioned, Col. DeCamp said. No one has been charged.
U.S. troops have been searching government buildings and the homes of senior members of Saddam's regime for evidence related to weapons of mass destruction or government valuables. The U.S. military has promised to protect the cash and valuables found for a future Iraqi government.

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