Monday, September 23, 2019

UK Fraud Office Charges Two More in Unaoil Investigation

Posted by November 30, 2017

British prosecutors have charged two more people in an investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at privately-held Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas services company.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday it had charged Paul Bond, 65, and Stephen Whiteley, 62, with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure Iraqi contracts for an Unaoil client, SBM Offshore (IHCB.F), between June 2005 and August 2011.

Scotland-based Whiteley was a former vice president with SBM and Unaoil's general territories manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola. Bond was a former senior sales manager with SBM and lives in France, the SFO said.

Whiteley's lawyer, Tariq Khan of Harris Solicitors, said his client "strongly denied" the charges. Bond's lawyer, Joseph Kotrie Monson of Mary Monson Solicitors, declined to comment.

The charges bring to four the number of people charged to date in an investigation launched last year into Unaoil, its officers, employees and agents in connection with alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.

The four men are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on December 7.

Unaoil, which is run by the prominent Ahsani family and provides industrial solutions to the energy sector in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, vigorously denies allegations of wrongdoing on its website.

The company said on its website the SFO investigation had had a "devastating impact" on its businesses, with a number of companies in the group having gone into liquidation.

The SFO said its investigation was continuing.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley

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