March 1, 2021

Former executive sentenced in Unaoil-related bribery prosecution in the UK

On March 1, 2021, Paul Bond, former senior sales manager of Single Buoy Moorings Inc. (SBM), was sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment, following his conviction by a jury in Southwark Crown Court on two offenses of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  Bond is the fourth executive to be convicted in cases related to bribery schemes involving Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil services consultancy, and its clients in Iraq.

Along with co-conspirators, Bond was found to have paid over $900,000 in bribes to Iraqi officials in order to secure contracts for SBM with the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the state-owned South Oil Company.  Commenting on the conviction, Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, 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.”

The three individuals previously convicted in the UK for their roles in the Unaoil Iraq bribery schemes are:

  • Stephen Whiteley, former Unaoil territory manager for Iraq and vice president of SBM Offshore.  Whitely was sentenced to three years imprisonment on July 22, 2020..
  • Ziad Akle, former territory manager for Unaoil in Iraq.  Akle was sentenced to five years in prison on July 23, 2020.
  • Basil Al Jarah, Unaoil’s partner in Iraq, pleaded guilty in July 2019 and was sentenced in October 2020 to three years and four months imprisonment.

In a US prosecution of Unaoil-related bribery in Iraq and at least eight other jurisdictions, two individuals pleaded guilty in March 2019 to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Cyrus Ahsani and Saman Ahsani served as CEO and COO of Unaoil, respectively.   Both Ahsanis are scheduled to be sentenced in September 2021.  Unaoil’s former business development director, Steven H. Hunter, pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2021.

SFO news release