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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Agreement to Support Women in Qadisiyah

UNFPA and Qadisiyah Governorate signed a cooperation agreement on Tuesday to scale up the support to girls and women in the governorate.

The agreement signed by Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative, and Mr Zuhair Ali Al-Shaalan, the Governor of Qadisiyah will ensure that women and girls have access to protection and proper services to respond to gender-based violence.

In addition, it will provide the Directorates of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, and Interior (Family Protection Unit) with the opportunity to strengthen their expertise on service delivery to survivors to deal with gender-based violence.

Speaking during the ceremony, Mr Al-Shaalan emphasised the governorate's full support to work with UNFPA to ensure the success of the project to provide quality service to women and girls. He also reiterated the governorate's efforts to enhance the role of women and girls, increase equality in leadership roles and become a unique model for active communities to contribute to the development process.

Dr Columbia thanked the Governor for supporting the needs and rights of women and girls in Qadisiyah:

"On behalf of UNFPA Iraq, I welcome this initiative and look forward to our joint actions to protect women and girls from violence and provide them with so much needed services."

The cooperation agreement between UNFPA and the Governorate is within the UNFPA 2020-2024 Country Programme Document and the Memorandum of Understanding between UNFPA and the Government of Iraq, through the Ministry of Planning.

(Source: UN)

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Video: COVID and Security Concerns over Ashura in Iraq

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

Preparations are under way in Karbala to mark Ashoura, a Shia Muslim commemoration.

People have started heading to the city despite concerns about security and COVID-19.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from Karbala:

The post Video: COVID and Security Concerns over Ashura in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq, Jordan and Egypt agree Energy Projects

By John Lee.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah arrived in Baghdad on Sunday for a fresh round of talks aimed at strengthening cooperation between the countries.

It is the first visit by an Egyptian head of state to Iraq since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The leaders agreed on the importance of the electrical interconnector project between the three countries, and linking the gas transmission networks between Iraq and Egypt through Jordan.

They also pushed for the completion of the Basra-Aqaba crude oil pipeline, which will provide a new outlet for the export of Iraqi oil through Jordan.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Rise in Iraqi Cancers may be linked to Wars, Environment

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Rise in Iraqi cancer cases may be linked to wars, environment

The causes of the spike may be linked to Iraq's wars or environmental pollution, but the evidence is sketchy.

Click here to read the full story.

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HRW: Inadequate Plans for Camp Closures

From Human Rights Watch (HRW). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Inadequate Plans for Camp Closures

Recent camp closures have stripped thousands of displaced people of essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic, with inadequate government plans for their return home, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Click here to read the full article.

(Source: HRW)

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Dr. Rafid Aziz Joins Board of Iraqi Children Foundation

Dr. Rafid Aziz Joins Board of Directors of Iraqi Children Foundation

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Rafid Aziz (pictured), President of the United Iraqi Medical Association in the United Kingdom, to join the ICF Board of Directors.

Grant Felgenhauer, ICF Board Chairman, said:

"ICF has pledged in 2021 to expand services to meet the medical and disability needs of Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children. Having a medical professional of such distinction on our Board will help equip ICF to pursue that commitment. We are thrilled to have Dr. Aziz join our team."

ICF has provided occasional medical support to children in Iraq in recent years, such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and clinical services. But the charity hopes to develop a more robust medical program. Dr. Aziz will be leading ICF's efforts to expand outreach and support to Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children with medical and disability needs.

Dr. Aziz, who went to medical school in Baghdad, Iraq, serves as President of the United Iraqi Medical Association (UIMA) for the UK and Ireland, an independent network that was established to look after the professional and social needs of the Iraqi healthcare community in the UK, as well as to support medical/nursing education and effective healthcare policy in Iraq. He is also the Medical Director, Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Lead, and a trainer at Hertz Urgent Care in the UK.

(Source: ICF)

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Terrorist Attack on Bai Hassan Oil Field

By John Lee.

A terrorist attack on the Bai Hassan oilfield in Kirkuk early on Wednesday has caused casualties and damage.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil said that wells 177 and 183 were bombed, and "a number of security forces and energy police were killed and wounded".

The safety and firefighting teams from the North Oil Company (NOC) and the supporting authorities were able to quickly extinguish the fire at well 177, but were still working to control the fire of well 183.

Sources told Reuters that production was not affected.

It's the second attack on the facility in less than a month; a bomb in April did not result in damage or injury.

(Sources: Ministry of Oil, Reuters)

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