Wednesday, October 28, 2020

British businessmen stand trial for paying $6 million bribes to win oil contracts in Iraq

-

Three British businessmen conspired to pay bribes totalling $6m (£4.6m) to win huge contracts in the oil industry, a court has heard.

The trio are accused of using the bribes to secure contracts worth $800m to rebuild the run-down Iraqi oil industry after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

At London’s Southwark crown court on Thursday, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opened its prosecution of the three men following a three-year investigation into alleged corruption in the energy industry.

The investigation centred on a Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy called Unaoil.

- Advertisement -

The SFO’s QC, Michael Brompton, told the court that Unaoil bribed Iraqi officials to help a Dutch-based energy firm, SBM, and a Singapore company, Leighton Offshore, to secure the contracts between 2005 and 2013.

He alleged that “after a long process of manoeuvring and manipulation”, SBM, with the assistance of Unaoil, had won a large contract to supply moorings for oil tankers. Unaoil helped Leighton Offshore to win another large contract to build pipelines, he alleged.

The three men have pleaded not guilty. They are Ziad Akle, 44, Unaoil’s territory manager for Iraq, Stephen Whiteley, 64, who was a vice-president at SBM until 2009 before joining Unaoil as its manager for Iraq, and Paul Bond, 67, SBM’s sales manager for the Middle East. Akle has dual British and Lebanese nationality.

Brompton told Judge Martin Beddoe that Unaoil had bribed senior officials at the Iraqi Ministry of Oil to secure the two contracts.

- Advertisement -

“In all Unaoil paid bribes totalling approximately $6m in order to secure the two contracts, together worth approximately $800m,” Brompton said. He told the jury Unaoil was paid for its help in landing the contracts.

The three businessmen have been charged with conspiring to pay the bribes with three members of the Ahsani family who controlled Unaoil. Ata Ahsani had founded Unaoil, and his sons, Cyrus and Saman, held senior positions within the firm. They are not defendants in this trial.

Brompton said: “This case concerns bribery and corruption connected to the reconstruction of the Iraqi oil industry in the years following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“By the time of Saddam’s overthrow, the infrastructure required for the successful production and distribution of crude oil was old and dilapidated. Plans were made by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil to hugely increase the country’s oil producing capacity.”

The trial, expected to last three months, continues.

 

MUST READ

Beam Suntory Inc. fined $19.6 million in foreign bribery case

Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam), a Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to...

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Former Jacksonville City Council members set for sentencing in fraud case

Former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are scheduled to be in federal court Tuesday to begin a hearing on their...

Judge opposed dismissal of bribery charge against former Portage mayor Synder

A judge denied Thursday two motions to dismiss a soliciting bribes charge former Portage Mayor James Snyder will be retried on, according to court...

Australian court approves $920 million Westpac money laundering fine

The Federal Court of Australia has agreed on the deal struck between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Westpac, ordering the Australian...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks