November 4, 2021

Former Unaoil senior executive ordered to pay SFO £100,000 for criminal gains

On November 3, 2021, the UK Serious Fraud Office announced that Stephen Whiteley, a former senior executive for Unaoil, had been ordered to repay almost £100,000 for criminal gains as the result of an SFO investigation into  criminal profits realized by Whiteley for his role in the Unaoil bribery scheme.  In 2020, Whiteley was found guilty of paying Iraqi officials more than $500,000 in bribes so that Unaoil could win a $55 million contract to supply oil infrastructure in Iraq. 

In November of 2017, Whiteley, who was once a Unaoil territory manager and formerly served as a vice president of SBM Offshore, was charged by the SFO with conspiracy to make corrupt payments in violation of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, for his role in a scheme to pay bribes to obtain a contract in Iraq for SBM Offshore, a Unaoil client.  Just over a year later in December 2018, the SFO announced an additional charge of conspiracy to make a corrupt payment against Whiteley for his role in conspiring to bribe Iraqi officials in exchange for the $55 million oil infrastructure contract for Unaoil.  Whiteley was convicted in July of 2020 after a jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to make a corrupt payment, and was eventually sentenced to three years in prison.  

In total, the SFO secured convictions against four former senior executives after an SFO investigation revealed that the executives collectively paid $17 million in bribes to obtain $1.7 billion in contracts for Unaoil in Iraq.  Whiteley’s co-defendant Ziad Akle, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the scheme.  Basil Al Jarah, a former Unaoil partner in Iraq who pleaded guilty in July 2019 to five counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, agreed to pay a £400,000 confiscation order and in October 2020 was sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment.  Finally, a jury found Paul Bond, the former senior sales manager of Single Buoy Moorings Inc. (SBM), guilty of two offenses of conspiracy to give corrupt payments and, in March of 2021, was sentenced to three and half years in prison for his role in the Unaoil bribery scheme.

SFO Press Release | SFO Press Release (2017)