Unaoil’s former Iraq partner pleads guilty to bribery

LONDON (Reuters) – The former partner in Iraq for Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy, has pleaded guilty to five counts of bribery in the first conviction in a three-year criminal investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

By Kirstin Ridley

Basil Al Jara, 70, pleaded guilty on July 15 to conspiring to give corrupt payments in connection with the award of contracts to supply and install single point moorings and oil pipelines in southern Iraq, the SFO said.

Al Jara’s conviction, which comes six months before three other defendants in the case face a criminal trial in London, was announced after reporting restrictions were lifted in a pre-trial court hearing on Friday, the SFO said.

Ziad Akle, Unaoil’s former territory manager for Iraq and Stephen Whiteley and Paul Bond, who worked for Dutch-based oil and gas services company SBM (Offshore) (SBMO.AS), has pleaded not guilty and face a London jury in January.

Akle, 44, has been charged with three offences of conspiracy to make corrupt payments. Bond, a 67-year-old former senior sales manager with SBM (Offshore), and Whiteley, a 64-year-old former vice president of SBM (Offshore) and Unaoil’s general territories manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola, each faces two counts.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source  uk.reuters.com


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