November 17, 2022

World Bank debars consultant and his controlled affiliates for three years for corrupt practices

On November 16, 2022, the World Bank Group announced a three-year debarment with conditional release imposed upon Spanish national Carlos Barberán Diez and his controlled affiliates, AC Oil & Gas SL and AC Oil & Gas Emirates LLC, for engaging in “a corrupt practice” in connection with the Petroleum Governance and Management Project in Guyana.  The goal of the Petroleum Governance and Management Project is to support enhancements to Guyana’s oversight of the oil and gas sector, including through the strengthening of legal and institutional frameworks and key institutions.  

According to the World Bank, in 2020, Barberán solicited payments from four oil and gas consulting companies in exchange for “us[ing] his position” in the project “to influence procurement processes under the project in their favor.”  Although World Bank investigators found no evidence that Barberán received any payments from the companies, the solicitation itself constitutes a corrupt practice under the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations and Anti-Corruption Guidelines.  

The World Bank stated that Barberán and his controlled affiliates are ineligible to participate in projects financed by the World Bank for a period of three years, which amounted to a reduced period of debarment due to Barberán’s cooperation with the investigation and implementation of voluntary remedial measures.  Under the settlement, as a condition for release from debarment, Barberán agreed to personally engage in corporate ethics training and also, during the period of debarment, to implement integrity compliance measures in accordance with World Bank principles for any affiliate that he currently or later controls.  Barberán also agreed to continue to fully cooperate with World Bank investigators.  

World Bank Press Release