UK Convicts SBM’s Ex-Executive in Unaoil Case

A London jury convicted on Wednesday a former executive of Single Buoy Moorings Inc. (SBM) for conspiring to bribe Iraqi public officials in order to secure lucrative oil contracts in the years following the overthrow of Saddam Hussain in 2003, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in a statement.

Unaoil SFOSBM’s ex-executive convicted in Unaoil case. (Photo SFO UK)“A jury found the former senior sales manager, Paul Bond, guilty on two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments following a retrial of his case at Southwark Crown Court,” read the statement.

SFO underlined that Bond’s has been the latest in a string of convictions related to the Unaoil bribery case, “which has uncovered the payment of over US$17 million worth of bribes to secure contracts worth $1.7 billion for Unaoil and its clients.”

In an attempt to rebuild the economy of the war-torn country, in 2007 the Iraqi Ministry of Oil made a “master plan,” setting up a strategy to quadruple the country’s oil exports within five years. The Ministry, as SFO recalled, then tasked the state’s South Oil Company (SOC) to “commission new oil pipelines and offshore mooring buoys (SPMs) in the Persian Gulf.”

“Consulting on behalf of SBM Offshore and working with Paul Bond directly, Unaoil employees paid over $900,000 in bribes to Iraqi public officials at the SOC and the Ministry of Oil to win a $55 million contract for SBM for the provision of the SPMs,” according to SFO.

Through bribes, Bond and others also managed to buy access to sensitive information on SOC’s competitive tendering requirements,” and “skew the process in SBM’s favour.”

SFO last year secured the convictions of Bond’s co-conspirators and former Unaoil territory managers for Iraq, Stephen Whiteley and Ziad Akle, as well as Unaoil’s former partner in Iraq, Basil Al Jarah.

The Oil Ministry’s projects “were crucial to the reconstruction of the Iraqi oil sector and the future prosperity of the fledgling state’s economy,” according to SFO Director, Lisa Osofsky.

She stressed that Bond and his co-conspirators knew that and yet “corrupted the tender process for financial gain.”