July 13, 2020

Jury convicts two former Unaoil executives in connection with Iraq bribe payments

On July 13, 2020, Stephen Whiteley, who held positions as Unaoil territory manager for Iraq and vice president of SBM Offshore, and Ziad Akle, former territory manager for Unaoil in Iraq, were convicted of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in violation of section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  Their convictions by a jury in Southwark Crown Court, follow the July 2019 guilty plea of their co-conspirator Basil Al Jarah, who admitted that, as country manager for Unaoil in Iraq, he paid over $6 million in bribes to public officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the South Oil Company in order to secure lucrative oil infrastructure contracts for Unaoil, SBM Offshore and Leighton Offshore.

The facts revealed that as Iraq worked to reconstruct and expand its oil production capacity in the years following the fall of Saddam Hussein, Whiteley and Akle, acting on behalf of Monaco-based Unaoil, conspired to bribe Iraqi officials in order to obtain contracts with the South Oil Company and Ministry of Oil for the installation of offshore mooring buoys, ultimately paying bribes totaling more than $500,000 in order to secure the $55 million contract. 

Another man, Paul Bond, formerly a senior sales manager for Unaoil, has been charged as a co-conspirator in the case.  Whiteley and Akle are scheduled to be sentenced on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2020.

SFO news release