Agents of Monaco-based consultancy Unaoil paid some $6m in bribes to secure oil contracts worth $800m in Iraq, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office alleged on the first day of a trial that is part of a wider probe into corruption in the Middle Eastern country.
Ziad Akle, Paul Bond and Stephen Whiteley appeared at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday facing counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments relating to oil contracts in Iraq predominantly between 2009 and 2010. The three are British nationals.
The SFO’s allegations date back to the reconstruction of Iraqi oil industry after the overthrow of former president Saddam Hussein in 2003. In 2007, the Iraq Ministry of Oil sought to increase the country’s crude oil exports from 1.8m to 4.5m barrels a day within five years, which necessitated the building of new infrastructure.
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