Unaoil Bribery Conviction Quashed

By John Lee.

Ziad Akle, Unaoil's territory manager for Iraq, has had his conviction for bribery quashed by the UK's Court of Appeal today (Friday).

He had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment in July 2020 having been found guilty of paying over $500,000 in bribes to secure a $55-million contract to supply offshore mooring buoys in Iraq.

The court found that the refusal by Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to provide key documents to the defence was "a serious failure by the SFO to comply with their duty," adding that "that failure was particularly regrettable given that some of the documents had a clear potential to embarrass the SFO in their prosecution of this case."

Paul Bond, a former senior sales manager at SBM Offshore (SBM), which was a client of Unaoil, had his request for leave to appeal against his sentence denied.

The full judgement can be read here.

 More here, here and here.

(Source: England and Wales Court of Appeal - Criminal Division)

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KRG PM meets President of the Iraq Britain Business Council

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, on Saturday met Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Prime Minister Barzani highlighted the reforms of the ninth cabinet, its bid to diversify the economy and crucially to make the Kurdistan Region a focal point for business.

Baroness Nicholson gave a briefing on the council's work, especially its last conference which was held in Dubai and which concentrated on developing UK, Iraq, and Kurdistan Region trade relations.

(Source: KRG)

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Basra Energy Company established to run Rumaila Oilfield

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has officially established the new Basra Energy Company (BEC), which will be the main contractor at the giant Rumaila oilfield, under a Technical Service Contract (TSC).

Representing BEC at the ceremony, Zaid Elyaseri (BP) said the field will be developed to reach a peak production of 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the current level of approximately 1.45 million bpd.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar added that, "PetroChina and BP are the two shareholders with SOMO and Basra Oil Company (BOC)." PetroChina is a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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IBBC Dubai Autumn Conference fields Top Speakers in All Sectors

As a measure of confidence in the global and Iraqi economy, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is seeing a marked upswing in quality and quantity of speakers at the Autumn Conference at the Address hotel, Dubai 22nd November.

The topic, in line with COP26 and the new energy horizon, is one of sustainability. Not only is this a key question for the oil and gas sector in Iraq, but also for the diversification of the economy and sustainable finances and industrial sectors within the country. With the hope of formation of a new government and stronger oil prices and government revenues, this could be described as a critical juncture in the evolution of Iraq.

Will the Government make the bold reform steps its people require? Can the economy diversify and enable the private sector to flourish? How will Iraq reform its energy sector and inflect towards renewable power, and develop its agricultural intentions at a time of water scarcity? How best to train and employ the many young people in the short term and how can the digital transformation of Iraq be delivered.

The Oil Minister H.E Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael intends to attend, along with Dr Salem Chalabi President of TBI, the Iraqi Ambassador to UAE, the British Ambassador to Iraq, and HM Consul General to Middle East. There is a very strong showing among IBBC members, leading IOC's including BP, TotalEnergies, and Basra Gas Company, and major suppliers to the Energy Sector such as Hydro-C and Oilserv and the ability to meet their CEO's at the event.

Professor Frank Gunter will give his insightful analysis of the economic outlook for Iraq and the steps to reform it must take to create a sustainable economy.

Finance too is fielding heavyweight speakers from IFC, Standard Chartered, Sardar Group (Principal Sponsors), Emirates credit insurance and a representative Director General of the Finance Ministry. Of particular interest are companies dedicated to supporting reform in Iraq, notably City and Guilds via GEMs and Stirling Education who are setting up international level qualifications for Iraqi companies for the first time, to raise standards and opportunities for Iraqi companies and youth, and SAP who are dedicated to the digital transformation of Iraq and will be outlining their vision and practical steps to achieve this. Both skills and digital applications are key drivers of a sustainable economy and take centre stage in this respect.

On the Industry Panel we see Dahlia Energy, Sardar Group, Al Busttan and Khudairi discussing the diversification of the economy and how they can help sustain momentum into the future, with their forward-looking businesses.

In parallel the online Tech conference is addressing data and its benefit to Government, business and the citizen. Sponsored by SAP, who will lead on the benefits of data in digital transformation, complimented by UK's GDS, Mastercard on smart cities, UK's Agri-epicentre and British Water and Serco; all leaders in their fields and passionate about the benefits of technology and data in delivering sustainable future economies.

For companies looking to meet the main business leaders in Iraq, this really is a conference to attend. Not only to meet Government officials and ministers, but also the leading supply chain organisations and IOC's and to learn about the future opportunities and likely evolution of Iraq's economy. To this end there is a pre-conference reception the night before at the Iraqi pavilion Dubai Expo 2020, and many opportunities to interact with delegates during lunch and coffee breaks, as well as the ability to sign up to view the conference online.

For more information and the latest speaker line up- please go to: IBBC Autumn Conference - IBBC (iraqbritainbusiness.org)

About the sponsors:

Saradar Group: Principal sponsors

With more than 30 years of rich experience in the automotive sector, Sardar Group became the leading group in the Automotive Sector in Iraq. Their intimate knowledge of the Iraqi market helped import, stock and sell the right brands, types, and models, while their excellent reputation, track record and credibility have helped grow the business times many over since 2003.

Since 2005 with a desire to move from Automobile Trading to providing its customers with all-round Automotive Solutions, Sardar Group started utilizing the synergies of its existing operations to diversify its automotive business activities to include Trading, Leasing of Vehicles, Equipment & Machinery and most importantly Aftersales Service Support.

Today, Sardar Group represents world-renowned automotive brands and heavy construction equipment & machinery exemplified in the following brands:

  • Toyota & Hino (in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation)
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover
  • Polaris
  • Doosan
  • TOTO

Hydro-C : Gold Sponsors

Hydro-C is catalysing the transition of fossil fuel-based energy to renewables by means of introducing sustainable green solutions into the industry to decarbonise operations and projects, and maintain profitable output. The company plan to focus on Solar, Wind and Hydro powers as a source of energy to achieve net Zero with energy providers and IOCs by 2050 in Iraq. By trading the UK innovative solutions and replicating successful projects which can cut on emissions and support sustainable growth. The company focus is on investing in the young generation, education, new technologies and innovations to support this transition.

SAP: Gold Sponsors

SAP is one of the world's leading producers of software for the management of business processes, developing solutions that facilitate effective data processing and information flow across organizations. SAP helps companies and organizations of all sizes and industries run their businesses profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people's lives. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world's transaction revenue touches an SAP system. SAP's machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers' businesses into intelligent enterprises. Their end-to-end suite of applications and services enables its customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a different

City&Guilds/ GEMS: Gold Sponsors

City and Guilds was Founded in 1878 and Granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1900.

Global leader in skills development. 4 million people each year use City and Guilds to develop skills that help them into a job, develop on that job and prepare for their next job. Global Benchmark operating in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE

Vocational Education / City and Guilds Models in Iraq:

  • To Partner with Training Institutions for delivery of City and Guilds qualifications - pathway to work programmes with curricula developed by employers.
  • Accredit employers' own training so employees can obtain internationally recognised qualifications.
  • Partner with Iraqi investors to set up Private Technical and Vocational Institutions that deliver City and Guild qualifications.

Operational in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and exploring a project in Najaf.

Serco: Silver Sponsors

Serco is managing Air Traffic control systems in Iraq and internationally. In the Middle East, Serco employs more than 4,500 people across four countries including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq

Basra Gateway Terminal: Bronze Sponsors

Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) is Iraq's premier container and multi-purpose cargo handling facility. It is situated in Umm Qasr, 50 km from Basra and 500 km from Baghdad.

Operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), BGT's team of high-performing Iraqi and International port professionals deliver customer-focused, high productivity and congestion-free port services to Iraq's economy.

Bell Finance LLC: Bronze Sponsors

Bell Finance Limited Liability Company was created in the US State of Delaware in July 2019 to build upon the Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation's lending and educational activities in Iraq since 2005 (www.immdf.org). Bell will continue IMMDF's lending activities by co-financing with Iraqi banks qualifying private sector projects that generate employment and economic growth in Iraq, incorporating Iraqi private sector companies as equity partners. Bell will also continue and expand IMMDF's educational activities in Iraq.

(Source: IBBC)

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UK SFO reclaims £100,000 from Unaoil Executive

Following a successful investigation and conviction of four individuals for corruption at Unaoil, the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has recovered criminal gains of almost £100,000 from a former senior executive.

The full amount must now be paid into the public purse within 28 days.

Earlier this year, the SFO was praised by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) for its work to recover the proceeds of crime, with cases "handled proactively and efficiently by dedicated and skilled staff."

This latest recovery means the SFO's confiscation of illicit gains since 2017 stands at well over £1.2 billion. Other notable successes include the £1.2 million secured from the luxury West London property of corrupt Brazilian agent Julio Faerman and the £2 million recouped from the sale of two properties and a cache of jewellery linked to suspected Birmingham fraudster Nisar Afzal.

Commenting on today's court order, Emma Luxton, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the SFO, said: "The SFO relentlessly pursues those who line their own pockets with illicit gains and we have a proud record of recovering funds for victims and for the UK taxpayer."

Stephen Whiteley, a former territory manager for Unaoil, was found guilty in July 2020 of paying over $500,000 in bribes to win a $55 million contract for Unaoil to supply oil infrastructure in Iraq. The SFO secured the convictions against Whiteley and three other senior oil executives in an investigation which uncovered schemes to pay a total of $17 million in bribes to win $1.7 billion in contracts for Unaoil in Iraq.

In October 2021, the SFO announced that Petrofac Limited had been ordered to pay £77 million after it admitted failing to prevent senior executives at Petrofac from systematically paying £32 million in bribes to win over £2.6 billion in oil and gas contracts in the Middle East. It was the third set of convictions in the case after David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021. The SFO's Petrofac investigation originated from its investigation into Unaoil.

The SFO's Proceeds of Crime Division continues to investigate the criminal gains of the convicted Unaoil executives.

(Source: UK SFO)

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UniHouse to run Talented Iraqi Program for Eni

By John Lee.

Italian energy company Eni S.p.A has signed an agreement with UniHouse to execute the Talented Iraqi Program.

Under the scheme, high-caliber, talented Iraqi students will be placed in the UK to study for Bachelor of Medicine degrees.

UniHouse will provide a full range of services, including preparation, exams, orientation, and in-country academic support and consultancy to Eni for the successful execution of the project.

Since 2010, Eni has been part of the consortium developing the Zubair Reservoir in Southern Iraq.

(Source: UniHouse)

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Petrofac Fined $105m; Shares Rally Futher

By John Lee.

Shares in Petrofac were trading up more than 7 percent on Monday, as the company was ordered to pay GBP 77 million [$105 million] after the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) secured further convictions in its investigation into bribery and corruption at the Jersey-registered energy services company.

On Friday, Petrofac Limited pleaded guilty to seven separate counts of failing to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.

Petrofac Limited admitted that it failed to prevent former senior executives of the Petrofac Group from paying GBP 32 million (USD 44 million) in bribes, to help the Petrofac Group win over GBP 2.6 billion (USD 3.5 billion) of contracts in the oil and gas industry in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Court heard how, over a period of six years, senior executives within the Petrofac Group engaged in elaborate schemes to corrupt the awarding of contracts, using agents to systematically bribe officials to win lucrative contracts by unfair and dishonest means.

A key feature of the case was the complex and deliberately opaque methods used by these senior executives to pay agents across borders, disguising payments through sub-contractors, creating fake contracts for fictitious services and, in some cases, passing bribes through more than one agent and one country, to disguise their actions.

Lisa Osofsky, Director, Serious Fraud Office, said:

"By pleading guilty, Petrofac Limited has accepted that senior executives within the Petrofac Group acted deliberately and without conscience in the pursuit of greed. The company's failure to prevent this conduct distorted competitive market conditions and tainted the oil and gas industry.

"Today's result should serve as a warning; the SFO will use all the powers at its disposal to root out and prosecute companies and individuals, whose criminal activity detrimentally affects the reputation and integrity of the United Kingdom.

"The SFO welcomes Petrofac Limited taking responsibility for its conduct."

This is the third set of convictions secured by the SFO in its four-year investigation into cross-border corruption at the Petrofac Group. David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021.

Lufkin was today sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence, which was suspended for 18 months. In addition to pleading guilty, David Lufkin co-operated with SFO investigators and assisted with the investigation.

The SFO continues to investigate this case.

Petrofac Chairman René Médori said:

"This draws a line under a regrettable period of our history. We have taken responsibility, reformed and learned from these past mistakes, as acknowledged by the SFO and the Court. Most importantly, the extensive work that we have done since the SFO investigation began means that the Petrofac of today has a comprehensive compliance and governance regime that meets or exceeds international best practice.

"The past behaviour uncovered by the SFO would not be possible today, and we look to the future a better and more focused company, well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities we see before us."

(Sources: SFO, Petrofac)

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Petrofac Shares Jump following Iraq Bribery Plea Agreement

By John Lee.

Petrofac shares closed the day up more than 26 percent on Friday, after the company announced that it has reached a plea agreement with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to bribery in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Company indicated guilty pleas to seven counts of failing to prevent former Petrofac group employees from offering or making payments to agents in relation to projects awarded between 2012 and 2015 in Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, contrary to Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010. These offers or payments were made between 2011 and 2017.

It added that all employees involved in the charges have left the business.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place at Southwark Crown Court commencing on Monday 27 September 2021. The Company will make a further announcement following sentencing or any adjournment.

In a statement to the markets, Group Chief Executive Sami Iskander said:

"With my new management team we are rebuilding the company into a new Petrofac that's relevant for the future, across both traditional and new energies, built on a foundation of the highest ethical standards."

(Sources: Petrofac, SFO)

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AA to distribute Laboratoires Gilbert in Iraq

Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) member AA for Global Trading and Commercial Agencies has announced that it has started importing the products of Laboratoires Gilbert of France to Iraq, as per an agreement signed in 2020.

Based in France's Normandy region, Laboratoires Gilbert manufactures and markets 30 brands and 1,900 references such as Physiodose, Physiolac, Dolodent, Luc and Léa, Comptoir Aroma, Algotherm, Laino, Hei Poa, and Comptoir du Bain among others.

Currently, AA is the commercial agent of several brands including Metrex Research (USA), Laboratoires Gilbert (France) and Palmer's (USA).

(Source: IBBC)

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