The bribery scandal at Petrofac deepened last night when a former senior executive at the oil services group pleaded guilty to three offences related to $3.3 billion of work that it secured in the United Arab Emirates.
The Serious Fraud Office said that David Lufkin had pleaded guilty at Westminster magistrates’ court to three counts of bribery, which related to “corrupt offers and payments made between 2012 and 2018”. The timing is significant, since it implies that offences were committed even after the SFO had begun its inquiry into suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering at Petrofac in May 2017.
The SFO said that Lufkin had “pleaded guilty to his role in offering and making corrupt payments to agents to influence the award” of the contracts. It said that “total payments of approximately $30 million were made, or were due to be made, by Petrofac to those agents in connection with these contracts”, which were awarded in 2013 and 2014.
Lufkin, former global head of sales at Petrofac, had already pleaded guilty in 2019 to 11 counts of bribery over payments that the company made to secure more than $4 billion of work in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Petrofac has said it is engaging with the SFO investigation.
Petrofac designs, builds and operates oil facilities. Its shares have been hit by the SFO inquiry, in which Ayman Asfari, its former chief executive, was questioned. Mr Asfari has denied any wrongdoing. Lufkin is understood to have left the company in 2017.
Sentencing will follow at Southwark crown court next month, the SFO said.