Thursday, December 9, 2021

SFO initiates criminal proceedings against Unaoil over Iraq bribery claims

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The Serious Fraud Office has started criminal proceedings against Unaoil as part of its investigation into corruption at the oil services group.

It follows criminal charges brought against four people in November for allegedly making corrupt payments to secure oil contracts in Iraq on behalf of Unaoil clients. The individuals included the commercial director and Iraq territory manager at Unaoil.

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Two of the group’s units, Unaoil Monaco SAM and Unaoil Ltd, have been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to make corrupt payments.

Their representatives will appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on July 18. Unaoil did not respond to a request for comment. It previously published a statement on its website that said it “vigorously denied” allegations that individuals had paid bribes to help other companies to win business. The statement also claimed the SFO’s investigation and media reports had pushed some Unaoil divisions into liquidation.

The SFO launched an inquiry in March 2016 over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.

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The latest charges relate to payments made to win oil deals in Iraq for Leighton Contractors Singapore PTE and SBE Offshore, a Dutch company.

The SFO said that the Leighton Contractors deal was worth £733 million.

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