A top European Union diplomat has rapped engineering/construction giant Bechtel for hiring a U.S. ambassador who lobbied for building a controversial $1B so-called “Patriot Highway” though Kosovo to Albania, according to an article in today’s Guardian.
Christopher Dell, an Obama administration appointee who served as U.S. ambassador to Kosovo, joined Bechtel in November, taking a post in Mozambique.
Bechtel announced completion of the highway on Nov. 26, praising it as the “centerpiece of Kosovo’s national transport system.”
Pieter Feith, who was the top EU diplomat to Kosovo when Bechtel won the contract in 2010, criticized Dell’s lobbying on behalf of the road, which he believes was too costly for impoverished Kosovo. He wants an investigation into the awarding of the contract.
Albania last week announced its own corruption into the financing of the project.
The Guardian reports it’s routine for ambassadors to push for projects for companies in the own countries, but noted “it is usual for a former diplomat to land a job with a major corporate after using their sway to secure lucrative government contracts.”
Bechtel denies any wrongdoing, saying the role of American ambassadors is to promote US business interests.
Earlier this year, Bechtel won a $830M contract to build a road linking Kosovo with Macedonia.