Monday, May 17, 2021

Bribery case against Unaoil executives suspended amid coronavirus concerns


The trial of three executives accused of paying bribes to win oil contracts was suspended today amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The three Unaoil executives, Ziad Akle, Paul Bond and Stephen Whiteley, have been accused by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of conspiring to make corrupt payments in relation to oil contracts in Iraq.

Today, Judge Beddoe said that following today’s sitting of the court, the trial will be adjourned until 31 March.

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The judge said the court would sit late today to ensure all evidence is covered and said closing speeches would begin once the trial restarts.

The SFO said the situation is being “monitored and assessed” in line with court service, Public Health England and government guidelines.

The SFO closed its office on Friday amid worries about possible coronavirus cases.

The agency’s offices reopened on Monday, but a spokesperson said many of its staff were now working from home in line with government guidance.

Courts in the UK remain open despite the crisis. The court service said lawyers, judges, juries and court staff should continue to attend, unless they or one of their party suspect they have coronavirus.

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