A former oil and gas boss has been found guilty of conspiring to bribe public officials to win contracts in Iraq following the collapse of Saddam Hussain’s regime.
A jury found Paul Bond, who was senior sales manager at SBM Offshore, guilty on two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments following a retrial of his case at Southwark Crown Court in London.
This is the latest in a string of convictions related to the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) Unaoil bribery case.
The investigation has uncovered the payment of over $17 million (£12m) worth of bribes to secure contracts worth $1.7bn (£1.2bn).
Last year, the SFO secured the convictions of co-conspirators and former Unaoil territory managers for Iraq, Stephen Whiteley, who is from Aberdeen, and Ziad Akle.
The pair were sentenced to three and five years respectively.
Additionally, Unaoil’s former Iraq partner, Basil Al Jarah received three years and four months’ imprisonment after admitting to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.
Each of the four men were found guilty of paying bribes to win contracts connected to the fledgling Iraqi state’s efforts to rebuild its war-torn economy in 2007.
To do this, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil produced a ‘master plan’ that set out a strategy to quadruple Iraqi oil exports within five years.
It tasked the state-owned 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 (£637,834) in bribes to Iraqi public officials at the SOC and the Ministry of Oil.
It resulted in Dutch-headquartered SBM Offshore winning a $55m (£39m) contract to provide SPMs.
These bribes bought access to sensitive information on SOC’s competitive tendering requirements, enabling Bond and others to skew the process.
Bond is due to be sentenced on Friday 26 February 2021.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “These projects were crucial to the reconstruction of the Iraqi oil sector and the future prosperity of the fledgling state’s economy. Bond and his co-conspirators knew this and yet corrupted the tender process for financial gain.
“We are proud to have ensured the four men will be punished for their pernicious crimes, and will continue to relentlessly pursue such cases across the globe.”
The SFO launched a investigation into Unaoil in 2016, focusing on business deals involving Halliburton-KBR, Petrofac, ABB, Leighton Holdings, Rolls Royce and Amec Foster Wheeler.