A former Unaoil executive has been jailed for more than three years for paying bribes to win $1.7bn of contracts in post-occupation Iraq.
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office said Basil Al Jarah, the former Iraq partner at Unaoil, conspired with others to pay more than $17m in bribes to secure the work, driving up the cost of rebuilding a war-torn country.
The bribes provided contracts for Unaoil and its clients to construct oil pipelines, offshore mooring buoys and other infrastructure projects in the Persian Gulf, collectively worth more than $1.7billion (£1.3bn).
Al Jarah’s contracts for Unaoil formed part of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil’s ‘Master Plan’ to rebuild its oil export capacity following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
It comes after co-conspirator on the mooring buoys bribery, Stephen Whiteley, from Aberdeen, was jailed for three years July for one count of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.
His fellow conspirator Ziad Akle was jailed for five years on two counts.
Al Jarah, 70, pleaded guilty to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in July 2019 after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opened its investigation in 2016.
He has been jailed for three years and four months.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “Al Jarah and his co-conspirators’ machinations, driven by greed and heartless avarice, compromised the fairness of the bidding process and ultimately drove up the price a war-torn country had to pay for essential infrastructural upgrades, earning Unaoil and its clients vast profits in the process.
“This was a classic case of corruption, where powerful men took advantage of the desperation and vulnerability of others to line their own pockets. I’m proud that the SFO could bring these men to justice.”
At his sentencing hearing on Thursday, the SFO said 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.