The former partner in Iraq for Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy, has pleaded guilty to five counts of bribery in the first conviction in a three-year criminal investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Basil Al Jarah, 70, pleaded guilty on July 15 to conspiring to give corrupt payments in connection with the award of contracts to supply and install single point moorings and oil pipelines in southern Iraq, the SFO said.
Jarah’s conviction, which comes six months before three other defendants in the case face a criminal trial in London, was announced after reporting restrictions were lifted in a pre-trial court hearing on Friday, the SFO said.
Ziad Akle, Unaoil’s former territory manager for Iraq, and Stephen Whiteley and Paul Bond, who worked for Dutch-based oil and gas services company SBM Offshore, have pleaded not guilty and face a London jury in January.
Akle, 44, has been charged with three offences of conspiracy to make corrupt payments. Bond, a 67-year-old former senior sales manager with SBM Offshore, and Whiteley, a 64-year-old former vice president of SBM Offshore and Unaoil’s general territories manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola, each face two counts.
Lawyers for Jarah, Bond and Whiteley declined to comment. A lawyer for Akle was not immediately available for comment.
A spokeswoman for Unaoil declined to comment, while SBM Offshore has said it is company policy to not comment on past or current employees.