Donate to Iraqi Children Foundation on Giving Tuesday

The children of Iraq are in crisis. An estimated 800,000 were orphaned by the end of the Iraq War.

The invasion by ISIS displaced more than 1.3 million. Thousands work on the streets, in homes, or in businesses.

They are why the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) exists: to intervene on their behalf with love and hope.

On Giving Tuesday, 3rd December, all new monthly donors will receive a 100% match on their first donation, and the ICF is competing for a share of $500,000 in matching funds.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Unaoil Directors Plead Guilty in US

Two brothers have pleaded guilty in the US to facilitating the payment of millions of dollars in bribes to officials in nine countries, including Iraq.

Cyrus Ahsani, 51, and Saman Ahsani, 46, both of United Kingdom (UK), ran the Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy Unaoil.

They are due to be sentenced on 20th April, 2020.

The following announcement was made by the US Department of Justice:

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday that Cyrus Ahsani, 51, and his 46-year-old brother Saman each pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) on behalf of companies to secure oil and gas contracts.

They will be sentenced on April 20, 2020, the department said.

Steven Hunter, a 50-year-old British resident and former business development director, also pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

The former CEO and chief operations officer (COO) of a Monaco-based intermediary company have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scheme to corruptly facilitate millions of dollars in bribe payments to officials in multiple countries. These included Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya and Syria. The company’s former business development director also pleaded guilty for his role in paying bribes in Libya.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzales of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Houston Division and Special Agent in Charge D. Richard Goss of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Houston Field Office made the announcement.

Cyrus Ahsani, 51, and Saman Ahsani, 46, both of United Kingdom (UK), each pleaded guilty March 25 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), for conspiring to facilitate bribes on behalf of companies in foreign countries in order to secure oil and gas contracts. UK resident Steven Hunter, 50, former business development director, pleaded guilty Aug. 2, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. Cyrus and Saman Ahsani are set for sentencing April 20, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore of the Southern District of Texas. Hunter’s sentencing is scheduled for March 13, 2020, before U.S. District Judge David Hittner.

According to court documents, former U.S. resident and CEO Cyrus Ahsani and former COO Saman Ahsani managed a Monaco-based intermediary company that provided services for multinational companies operating in the energy sector. From approximately 1999 to 2016, the Ahsanis conspired with others, including multiple companies and individuals, to make millions of dollars in bribe payments to government officials in Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya and Syria.

Additionally, court documents reflect Cyrus and Saman Ahsani laundered the proceeds of their bribery scheme in order to promote and conceal the schemes and to cause the destruction of evidence in order to obstruct investigations in the United States and elsewhere. Hunter participated in the conspiracy to violate the FCPA by, among other things, facilitating bribe payments to Libyan officials between about 2009 and 2015.

The FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Dennis R. Kihm, Gerald M. Moody Jr., Jonathan P. Robell and Gwendolyn A. Stamper of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance in this matter.

The governments of Australia, Canada, France, Guernsey, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and UK provided significant assistance in this matter as did the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Eurojust.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.

(Sources: US Dept of Justice, Reuters)

New USAID Funding for Victims of ISIS Genocide

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced the first tranche of recipients under USAID’s New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) on Thursday during his remarks at the Accord Network’s Annual Forum.

The organizations will carry out programs that improve global health outcomes in USAID’s partner countries, and assist populations in the Republic of Iraq that are recovering from the genocide perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Administrator Green launched the NPI in May 2019 to expand and diversify USAID’s partner base and change the way the Agency does business. By working with new or underutilized partners, the Agency hopes to bring more innovative approaches to U.S. foreign assistance; focus on strengthening capacity and commitment in partner countries by tapping into existing networks of community- and faith-based organizations; and reach new populations.

Administrator Green also announced a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province. Long-time USAID partner Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million of that total.

New USAID Assistance Through the NPI Direct to Local Iraqi Groups That Are Helping Victims of ISIS Genocide

USAID is awarding small grants through the NPI that total approximately $4 million to six local groups in Northern Iraq to help religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS. The new NPI implementers in Northern Iraq are the following:

Philadelphia Organization for Relief and Development: The award will establish a community center in the town of Qaraqosh to provide services for people with disabilities, training in employment skills, child care, and a community food bank.

Catholic University of Erbil: The award will provide classes in business language and computer software for widows, victims of abuse, and former captives of ISIS.

Top Mountain: The award will support a business incubator and employment program for Iraqi youth, which will promote entrepreneurship, provide business training, and build commercial networks.

Shlama Foundation: The award seeks to improve job opportunities through training engineers on the installation on solar power, provide electricity for families, and install solar-powered pumps for farms and street lighting for villages.

Beth Nahrain: The award will help re-establish a local, women-led organization decimated by ISIS. The organization will also provide small-business vocational training to women in the Nineveh Plains.

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights: The award will provide trauma-rehabilitation and resilience services to survivors of genocide; legal services and programs in justice/reparations; and activities to promote inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue.

The United States remains committed to supporting persecuted religious and ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq. With these new awards, the total assistance the U.S. Government has provided since 2017 in Northern Iraq is now more than $400 million. These programs complement H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, which passed with bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and which President Donald J. Trump signed into law on December 11, 2018. Additional U.S. humanitarian assistance has also benefited the same Iraqi communities.

New Funding for the IOM and Samaritan’s Purse to Help Victims of ISIS Genocide

Administrator Green also announced at the Accord Network that Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million as a part of a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province in Iraq.

New USAID Assistance in Global Health Through the NPI

Administrator Green also announced two new awards under the Agency’s NPI for global health. These awards, which total $68 million, will leverage the expertise and reach of local and locally established civil society and faith- and community-based organizations to increase the quality, access, and sustainability of health care.

The new NPI implementers for global health are the following:

World Relief: Working with local partners, World Relief will expand and leverage existing community networks in four countries to help strengthen maternal, reproductive, and child health at the local level.

Palladium International: This program will help reach USAID’s goal of increasing access to, and the uptake of, high-quality health care across priority areas, in line with USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance. The partner will provide sub-awards to local organizations, along with mentoring and technical support to strengthen their capacity. Palladium will be expected to pass sixty-five percent of the total award to new and underutilized sub-awardees.

(Source: USAID)

TechnipFMC settles Iraq Bribery Case

By John Lee.

Oil and gas company TechnipFMC has agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle an Iraq-related corruption case with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company is alleged to have taken part in bribery between 2008 and 2013 to secure business from Iraqi state-owned oil companies.

Just last month, the company announced that it would demerge its operations into two separate companies.

The full statement from the SEC can be read here.

(Source: SEC)

Sanctioned Russian Firm may Develop Iraq’s Block 17

By John Lee.

Russia’s Stroytransgaz has signed a preliminary contract for the exploration, development and production of Block 17, in Anbar province.

At a signing ceremony in Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Oil Minister Thamer Abbas Ghadhban said that preliminary studies and information indicate the existence of oil reserves ranging between 2 and 4 billion barrels oil equivalent of gas. The block measures 12,000 square kilometers.

The Director General of Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Department, Abdul Mahdi Al-Amidi, said that the contract commits the company to build a residential complex in Anbar province in addition to the development of infrastructure and services for the province, with an estimated value of $100 million dollars.

Stroytransgaz was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2014 in relation to Russian activity in Ukraine.

The deal needs final approval by Iraq’s Council of Ministers.

(Sources: Iraqi Oil Ministry, OFAC)

Iraq turns to BP, Eni for Oil Export Pipeline

By John Lee.

Iraq is reported to be close to reaching a deal with BP and Eni for an export pipeline project.

Al Jazeera quotes senior Iraqi oil officials as saying that the project was initially planned as part of a “megadeal” with ExxonMobil.

They said that under the proposed $400-million agreement, BP and Eni would build two seabed oil pipelines for Iraq’s southern exports through the Gulf.

(Source: Al Jazeera)

Iraq signs Gas Processing Deal with Honeywell

By John Lee.

US-based Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the South Gas Company (SGC) to process 300 million cubic meters of gas per day from the Artawi field in southern Iraq.

(Source: Oil Ministry)

TechnipFMC Fined for Iraq Bribes

By John Lee.

Oil services firm TechnipFMC (TFMC) has agreed to pay $296 million to resolve allegations that the company paid bribes in Brazil and Iraq.

TFMC is the product of a 2017 merger between two predecessor companies, Technip S.A. and FMC Technologies, Inc..

The admissions and court documents establish that beginning by at least 2008 and continuing until at least 2013, FMC conspired to violate the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to at least seven government officials in Iraq, including officials at the Ministry of Oil, the South Oil Company (SOC) and the Missan Oil Company (MOC), through a Monaco-based intermediary company in order to win secure improper business advantages and to influence those foreign officials to obtain and retain business for FMC Technologies in Iraq.

(Source: US Justice Dept)

Gulf Tensions: Iraq worried about Economy

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq exports around 3.5 million barrels of oil a day.

Heightened regional tensions between the US and Iran and recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf have heightened security fears.

The government of Iraq is worried about the threat to its oil exports – and how its economy could suffer.

Al Jazeera‘s Charles Stratford reports:

Exclusive Tee for 5K to Benefit Iraqi Children

Actress Alia Shawkat Designs Exclusive Tee for 5K to Benefit Iraqi Children

Iraqi-American performer and producer, Alia Shawkat, is best known for her acting work in TV shows like Arrested Development and films like Whip It and The Runaways.

She is also a talented artist, with her contemporary works featuring in high profile gallery shows including at the Known Gallery and Dilettante Gallery in LA.

This year, Ms Shawkat joins the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) to design a custom t-shirt for their upcoming “In Their Shoes” 5K race in Alexandria VA, on June 22nd.

Ms Shawkat’s artistic style is a playful and contemporary mix of colors and textures, often taking the form of abstract cartoons.

I’ve grown more and more curious as I’ve gotten older about my father’s heritage”, says Ms Shawkat.

I’ve travelled to the Middle East and feel such a strong connection to the people and the environment.

The more misunderstood Arabs and the Muslim culture are in America, the deeper my urge is to share the beauty of our culture with Americans and in my art”.

Ms Shawkat’s father came to America from Baghdad in the 1970s with only $200 in his pocket, and eventually started his own business.

Her father has been an active participant in charitable giving for children in Iraq, and this commitment clearly runs in the family.

I’m open to every opportunity that allows me to help children in need”, says Ms Shawkat.

Iraqi Children Foundation invests in education, legal protection, and medical on-the-ground support for Iraq’s most vulnerable orphans and street children.

An investment in these children is an investment in the future of Iraq.

In 2018, ICF provided 14,200 meals for children enrolled in their education programs, and handled 675 legal cases for children, including the victims of sex trafficking.

Without these critical services, these children are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists.

The Alia Shawkat t-shirts are available exclusively through registration in the 5K in Alexandria this week.

The event, now in its 7th year, promises to be a fun family-friendly morning, with an after party including Iraqi music, snacks, and entertainment.

For those who can’t make it to Alexandria, donations can be made via the same link, or registrants can sign up and note and note their location as a “remote runner” in the comments (ICF will send remote runner’s shirts with free shipping in continental US).

Race details:

ICF’s “In Their Shoes” 5K will be held at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at 0800 on June 22, 2019 (registration opens at 0700).

Registration link: https://runsignup.com/Race/VA/OldTownAlexandria/InTheirShoes5KIraq

For more information please contact Liz McRae: liz@iraqichildren.org, +1.202.790.1109