Serious Fraud Office
Former Unaoil executive ordered to pay £402k in confiscation
Following a hearing at Southwark Crown Court before HHJ Beddoe, the SFO yesterday secured a £402,465.65 confiscation order by consent against former Unaoil executive Basil Al Jarah.
In October 2020, Al Jarah was sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment after an SFO investigation showed he paid over $17m in bribes to dishonestly secure approximately $1.7bn worth of contracts in post-occupation Iraq.
Al Jarah, Unaoil’s former Iraq partner, was found to have benefited in the sum of £3,354,175.61 and must pay £402,465.65 within three months or faces a further three years in prison. The court imposed a compliance order in conjunction with the confiscation order.
Emma Luxton, Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division at the SFO yesterday said:
“Basil Al Jarah committed his crimes against the fledgling Iraqi state out of greed.
“His conviction and this confiscation order reflect the SFO’s determination to make sure such crime does not pay.”
Al Jarah conspired with others to pay millions of dollars in bribes to public officials at the South Oil Company and Iraqi Ministry of Oil. These bribes secured contracts for Unaoil and its clients to construct oil pipelines, offshore mooring buoys in the Persian Gulf, and other infrastructure projects, collectively worth just over $1.7bn. The contracts formed part of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil’s ‘Master Plan’ to rebuild its oil export capacity and revitalise the Iraqi economy after years of war and occupation.
In July 2019, Al Jarah pleaded guilty to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in July 2019 in relation to two projects; one to install three mooring buoys and one to construct two oil pipelines. Co-conspirators on the mooring buoys bribery, Stephen Whiteley and Ziad Akle, were found guilty of one and two counts, respectively, of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in July 2020. A third defendant, Paul Bond, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in February 2021. The four men were sentenced to between three and five years’ imprisonment.
At his sentencing hearing on 8 October 2020, Al Jarah asked for further offences to be taken into consideration in relation to two other projects: one to install an oil platform and one to install a third oil pipeline.
Notes to Editors:
- Basil Al Jarah (01/06/49), who was Unaoil’s Iraq partner, pleaded guilty to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 on 15 July 2019. See the press release here.
- Stephen Whiteley (04/07/1955), former Vice President at SBM Offshore and Unaoil’s territory manager for Iraq, was found guilty in July 2020 of one offence of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. He was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment on 30 July 2020. See the press release here.
- Ziad Akle (02/03/1975), who was Unaoil’s territory manager for Iraq, was found guilty in July 2020 of two offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each count, to be served concurrently, on 23 July 2020. See the press release here.
- Paul Bond (15/06/1952), former Senior Sales Manager at SBM, was convicted of two offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. Bond was sentenced to three and half years’ imprisonment on each count, to be served concurrently. See the press release here.
- The SFO opened its investigation on 22 March 2016 and the trial began on 20 January 2020 at Southwark Crown Court. The trial was adjourned on 17 March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but resumed at the Old Bailey before the jury on 13 May following social distancing guidelines. The SFO announced the verdicts of the jury on 13 July 2020. You can read the press release here.
- More information can be found here.
- This case remains active and the Strict Liability Rule in the Contempt of Court Act 1981 applies.
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