05:46, November 20 948 0

2017-11-20 05:46:07
Trio of firms on call as SFO charges Unaoil executives with fraud

A trio of firms have been called in to act for two Unaoil executives who have been charged by The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to its ongoing investigation into allegations of bribery, corruption and money laundering.

The SFO said former territory manager for Iraq Ziad Akle and Iraq partner Basil Al Jarah have both been charged “by requisition with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure the award of contracts in Iraq” to Unaoil’s client SBM Offshore.

London-based Akle, who has been charged with one offence of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, has sought legal advice from Joanna Dimmock, a partner at White & Case. Al Jarah has been charged with two offences of conspiracy to make corrupt payments and is being represented by Brown Rudnick’s Mark Beardsworth.

A third man, Saman Ahsani, is subject to an extradition request to Monaco on related charges. His lawyer is Jo Rickards, a partner at Mishcon de Reya in the business crime group.

All of the charges relate to alleged corrupt conduct within Unaoil between June 2005 and August 2011.

The SFO announced its investigation into the Monaco-based energy company in July. It is just one of many probes into high-profile companies such as Slaughter and May client British American Tobacco (BAT), Linklaters client Amec Foster Wheeler and Simmons & Simmons client Afren.

The regulator announced in September that it was charging two former Afren executives, Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah, with fraud-related offences following its investigation into the company in 2015. The oil and gas exploration company reported itself to the body following a report by Willkie Farr & Gallagher into its expenses practices.

Simmons partner Stephen Gentle is advising Ullah, while Locke Lord partner David Grant is acting for Shahenshah.