Former Unaoil executive jailed for five years on Iraq bribery offences


first_imgZiad Akle was sentenced in a London court after being found guilty of corrupting commercial tender processes for oil infrastructure on behalf of the consultancy’s clients following Saddam Hussein’s overthrow Al Basrah Oil Terminal in Iraq (Credit: US Army/Spc. Darryl L Montgomery) Former Unaoil executive Ziad Akle, 45, was sentenced to five years in prison today (23 July) for bribing an Iraq government official to secure oil infrastructure projects in the post-war rebuilding period.The British-Lebanese businessman was found guilty earlier this month of paying more than $500,000 in bribes to secure a $55m contract to build single point mooring (SPM) infrastructure on behalf of Unaoil client SBM Offshore, a Dutch manufacturing company.It follows a months-long trial prosecuted by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in London of three former associates of Unaoil, a Monaco-based energy consultancy that is subject to a global corruption investigation for its activities in Iraq and other countries.Steven Whiteley, 65, who was Unaoil’s general territories manager for Iraq, and formerly a vice-president of SBM Offshore, was also due to be sentenced alongside Akle today, but was unable to attend the hearing for health reasons. His sentencing has been postponed to a later date.Jurors in the trial were unable to reach a verdict on a third man, Paul Bond, 68, who was a former vice-president of SBM Offshore. He faces a retrial next year.Co-conspirator Basil Al Jarah, 71, Unaoil’s former country manager for Iraq, pleaded guilty last year to five related corruption offences brought by the SFO. He is due to be sentenced in October. Judge labels offences ‘utterly exploitative’ of a country in need of economic supportIn the immediate post-Hussein years, efforts were made to rebuild the oil industry in southern Iraq. To this end, the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP) was conceived in 2007 to boost crude export capacity in the region from 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to 4.5 million bpd.The SFO’s case presented hundreds of emails between Unaoil executives and their associates, which it said detailed a co-ordinated effort to corrupt tendering processes worth $1.6bn for infrastructure contracts handed out as part of the ICOEEP scheme.Judge Beddoe said: “Email traffic in which Akle is included is riddled with evidence that corruption was rife. Tendering processes were wholly compromised by and through [Al Quoraishi].“The corruption was successful and very fruitful. Akle knew that what Al Quoraishi was doing was not out of the kindness of his heart or for the benefit of Iraq.“The offences were committed across borders and at a time of serious need for the government of Iraq to rebuild after years of sanctions and the devastation of war.“They were utterly exploitative at a time when the political and economic situation was extremely fragile, and when we owed it our best to help overcome a war that we had chosen to start.”center_img Unaoil positioned itself to take advantage of oil infrastructure rebuilding in post-war IraqUnaoil is accused of positioning itself to fraudulently take advantage of a project to revitalise dilapidated oil and gas infrastructure in the south of the country in the years following US invasion in 2003 and Saddam Hussein’s subsequent fall from power.Akle “played a full part [in the] direct and sustained corruption of a senior figure performing a public function,” said Judge Martin Beddoe at London’s Southwark Crown Court.He added the businessman was “fully aware” of a plan to corrupt Oday Al Quoraishi, a project manager for Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company (SOC), who the court was told used his position within the company “to do Unaoil’s bidding” by influencing commercial tender processes in favour of the consultancy’s clients.SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “Akle and his co-conspirators exploited a country reeling from years of dictatorship and military occupation to line his own pockets and win business. It is this combination of greed and heartless avarice that led to these convictions.”last_img read more

USS New Mexico Visits Namesake State


first_img Training & Education USS New Mexico Visits Namesake State Share this article Back to overview,Home naval-today USS New Mexico Visits Namesake State View post tag: Navy USS New Mexico (SSN 779) commanding officer and chief of the boat visited the Virginia-class attack submarine’s namesake state, Jan. 29-31, in honor of the ship’s commissioning nearly three years ago.Cmdr. George Perez, commanding officer, USS New Mexico and his chief of the boat, Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Steven Fritzler met New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), members of the USS New Mexico Committee and the New Mexico Navy League members.“As USS New Mexico prepares to depart on her maiden deployment, it is important for us to personally convey to our namesake state and the New Mexico Committee just how much the crew appreciates their support,” said Perez.Dick Brown, chairman, USS New Mexico Committee coordinated the visit as a way to continue forging the strong bonds between the state and their namesake submarine.“Scheduling a meeting between our governor while the State Legislature is in session and the commanding officer of a submarine is quite a challenge,” said Brown. “But it’s all part of our committee’s work in helping to maintain strong ties between the submarine and its namesake state.”Brown and his committee vice chairman, retired Lt. Cmdr. Damon Runyan, have been spearheading other collaboration opportunities with the boat and the state to include a letter-writing initiative between an Albuquerque-based elementary school. Forty-five students attending the North Star Elementary School sent letters to the crew of the Virginia-class submarine in 2012, to which Sailors have since responded.“We just received 45 letters back from individual crew members addressed to the kids,” said Brown. “What a wonderful opportunity for a pen-pal exchange.”New Mexico was commissioned March 27, 2010 and was the sixth Virginia-class submarine to be commissioned. There are currently 127 officers and enlisted Sailors assigned to New Mexico.New Mexico was commissioned March 27, 2010 and was the sixth Virginia-class submarine to be commissioned. There are currently 127 officers and enlisted Sailors assigned to New Mexico.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, February 1, 2013; Image: US Navy View post tag: Defense View post tag: State View post tag: Namesake View post tag: Naval View post tag: USS View post tag: New View post tag: Mexico View post tag: Defence View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Visit February 1, 2013last_img read more

Dead & Company Delivers Seamless Second Set, All Tour Debuts In Cincinnati [Videos]


first_imgOn Monday night, Dead & Company continued their 2018 summer tour with a stop at Cincinnati, OH’s Riverbend Music Center. Coming off a weather cancelation in the middle of their second set on night two in Camden, the band took the stage at Riverbend with a well-worn Grateful Dead mindset: “Just keep truckin’.”The band took their time before sliding into “Truckin’” in earnest to start the show. Bob Weir struggled early on the vocals, coughing and chuckling as he tried to soothe his dry throat. Eventually, a red cup filled with water appeared on the amp behind Weir, and with his whistle wetted, his trademark howl was back, albeit with a little more growl in it than usual.Dead & Company – “Truckin’” [Pro-Shot][Video: Dead & Company]Weir powered through, taking lead vocals on an upbeat rendition of Johnny Cash‘s “Big River”. John Mayer stepped to the mic next to lead the band through “They Love Each Other”, one of the tunes he’s most naturally made his own in the Dead & Co arena. Another such song followed in “Friend of the Devil”, as Mayer and Weir (on acoustic guitar) shared vocals and Jeff Chimenti took a beautiful piano solo on the American Beauty classic.Next, Oteil Burbridge took to the mic for a tender, bluesy reading of “If I Had The World To Give”. “Sugaree” came next, and the band grooved through multiple swinging blues jam portions, with Mayer and Chimenti playing off each other to great effect. Burbridge and the Rhythm Devils, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, anchored the band firmly in the pocket before pushing Chimenti and Mayer toward a white-light peak. Finally, the band took one more stab at first set blues with “New Speedway Boogie” to bring their first set to a close.Dead & Company came out of the gates hot for set two, opening with a “Deal” that felt somewhat faster than the band’s usually tepid pace on the Jerry Garcia classic. The band made the most of the approach, pushing the song into some interesting, sparse space before building it up to a satisfying climax.Dead & Company – “Deal” [Pro-Shot][Video: Dead & Company]Without skipping a beat, the band settled into a slow and steady “He’s Gone”, Weir and Mayer smile, smile, smiling as they shared lead vocals. The song’s outro jam, in particular, saw the band members play off each other impeccably, producing some of the most engaging improv of the night. The meat of the second set followed with a red-hot run through “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” pairing, with the band’s emotional accents hitting all their customary marks throughout the classic pairing.Pulsing percussion plumed out of “Rider”, signaling the start of Mickey and Billy’s “Drums/Space” fun time. The band returned to the stage to craft a dissonant, jazzy atmosphere deep into “Space”, emerging on the other side in Bob Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”. Bobby’s early vocal struggles were a distant memory as he emoted an elegant reading of the tune.Dead & Company kicked the energy back up a few notches with the “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” that followed, with Weir, Burbridge, and Mayer all taking a turn singing lead. Finally, after a straight-through set with nary a measure’s break, the band flowed into “U.S. Blues” to bring it to a close. Another Dylan favorite, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, served as the encore to cap the evening.Of note, in addition to playing a seamless second set, every song the band played throughout the night (aside from the ever-present “Drums/Space”) was a tour debut—as has been the case in each of the tour’s 4 (3.75?) shows. While the repeats will inevitably begin sooner rather than later, it’s ensuring to see them making a concerted effort to utilize the Dead’s expansive catalog, much of which remains unexplored by this latter-day incarnation of the band. After a hiccup in Camden, Dead & Co’s Cincinnati performance saw them get their footing once again, delivering a fun early-tour show that shows promise for what’s to come as their summer run trucks on.You can listen to full audio of the show via nugs.net. Next up for the band is a show at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, IN tomorrow, June 6th. For a full list of Dead & Company’s upcoming shows, head to their website.Setlist: Dead & Company | Riverbend Music Center | Cincinnati, OH | 6/4/18Set One: Truckin’ > Big River, They Love Each Other, Friend of the Devil*, If I Had The World To Give, Sugaree, New Speedway BoogieSet Two: Deal > He’s Gone > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Drums/Space > A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall > Going Down The Road Feeling Bad > U.S. BluesEncore: Knockin’ On Heaven’s DoorNotes: All songs were tour debuts*Bob Weir on acoustic guitarlast_img read more