An oil boss has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for conspiring with others to bribe public officials to secure lucrative oil contracts in post-war Iraq.
Paul Bond, former senior sales manager at SBM Offshore, was found guilty last week of two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments after a retrial of his case at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Three other men have previously been convicted by the Serious Fraud Office as part of its wide-scale investigation into bribery in the war-torn state.
The enquiry uncovered the payment of more than $17 million (£12m)worth of bribes to secure $1.7 billion (£1.2bn)worth of contracts for Unaoil and its clients.
Following the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil set out a ‘master plan’ in 2007 to rebuild the country’s oil infrastructure.
It tasked the state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) to commission the construction of new oil pipelines, as well as the installation of single offshore mooring buoys (SPMs) in the Persian Gulf.
Together with co-conspirators at Monaco-headquartered Unaoil, Paul Bond funnelled $900,000 (£646,000) in bribes to Iraqi public officials at the SOC and the Ministry of Oil.
The money bought access to sensitive information, allowing the group to skew the tendering process in SBM’s favour – it went on to win a $55m (£40m) contract for the provision of SPMs.
Bond’s conviction follows that of former Unaoil territory managers Stephen Whiteley, who is from Aberdeen, and Ziad Akle.
The pair were found guilty last year of conspiring to bribe Iraqi public officials to secure substantial oil contracts and sentenced to three and five years’ imprisonment respectively.
In July 2019, Basil Al Jarah, Unaoil’s former Iraq partner, pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.
He later asked for a number of additional offences to be taken into consideration, in total admitting to paying over $17m (£12m) in bribes to secure contracts worth $1.7bn (£1.2bn).
Basil Al Jarah was handed three years and four months’ imprisonment for his crimes
Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said: “Bond and his co-conspirators manipulated the tendering process for an infrastructure project vital to Iraq’s developing economy, with no regard for the impact.
“The string of convictions in this case demonstrate the SFO’s determination to root out and prosecute corrupt practices in all corners of the globe working with law enforcement partners across the world.”