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Page added on March 31, 2016

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Presenting, “The Company That Bribed The World”

Business

This won’t exactly come as a surprise: the global oil industry is corrupt.

We are, after all, talking about the most financialized commodity in the history of the world, and up until a few years ago, it was controlled by a cartel comprised entirely of nations run by caricatures and stereotypes that the Western public generally regarded as a kind of necessary evil in a world that revolves around fossil fuels.

More recently, we’ve seen how oil funds terrorism and how crude prices are manipulated by the Gulf monarchies to secure “ancillary diplomatic benefits” in the never-ending quest to perpetuate Sunni hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula.

In short, blood money and oil money are synonymous concepts and at the end of the day, any geopolitical dispute that can’t be explained by sectarianism, tribalism, or some other ancient cultural rift, can very likely be explained by a dispute over energy.

Given the above, we weren’t at all shocked to learn that a heretofore obscue firm based in Monaco has made a killing by perfecting the art of oil market bribery and corruption. But even if the story isn’t surprising, it is nonetheless intriguing and with that in mind we present below excerpts from The Company The Bribed The World,” a collaborative piece by Huff Post and Fairfax Media.

*  *  *

From The Huffington Post

A massive leak of confidential documents has for the first time exposed the true extent of corruption within the oil industry, implicating dozens of leading companies, bureaucrats and politicians in a sophisticated global web of bribery and graft.

After a six-month investigation across two continents, Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post can reveal that billions of dollars of government contracts were awarded as the direct result of bribes paid on behalf of firms including British icon Rolls-Royce, US giant Halliburton, Australia’s Leighton Holdings and Korean heavyweights Samsung and Hyundai.

The investigation centres on a Monaco company called Unaoil, run by the jet-setting Ahsani clan. Following a coded ad in a French newspaper, a series of clandestine meetings and midnight phone calls led to our reporters obtaining hundreds of thousands of the Ahsanis’ leaked emails and documents.

The trove reveals how they rub shoulders with royalty, party in style, mock anti-corruption agencies and operate a secret network of fixers and middlemen throughout the world’s oil producing nations.

The leaked files expose as corrupt two Iraqi oil ministers, a fixer linked to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, senior officials from Libya’s Gaddafi regime, Iranian oil figures, powerful officials in the United Arab Emirates and a Kuwaiti operator known as “the big cheese”.

It is the Monaco company that almost perfected the art of corruption.

It is called Unaoil and it is run by members of the Ahsani family – Monaco millionaires who rub shoulders with princes, sheikhs and Europe’s and America’s elite business crowd. At the head are family patriarch Ata Ahsani and his two dashing sons, Cyrus and Saman.

Their charities support the arts and children, and Ahsani family members sit on the boards of NGOs with ex-politicians and billionaires. Ten years ago, a spreadsheet showed they had cash, shares and property worth 190 million euros. They are members of the global elite.

Bankers in New York and London have facilitated Unaoil’s money laundering, while the Ahsanis have built a major property investment business in central London. Since 2007, Unaoil has been certified by anti-corruption agency Trace International. This in itself raises serious questions about the worth of such international accreditation.

But for the western companies confronted with questions under anti foreign bribery laws in their own jurisdictions, Unaoil appears to be a reputable and discrete middle-man, giving listed businesses what is known as “plausible deniability”.

Iraq
After the US led coalition won the second gulf war, it went to guard the oil ministry – leaving the Baghdad museum undefended to be looted of its treasures.

But they did not save the oil industry from thieves. The Unaoil files reveal that Western companies, in concert with Iraq’s new elite, themselves began a sustained campaign of looting.

Unaoil paid at least $25 million in bribes via middlemen to secure the support of powerful officials – while complaining internally that they were “assholes, and greedy”.

Between 2004 and 2012, Unaoil corruptly influenced a Who’s Who of the country’s oil industry: the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq turned education minister Hussain al-Shahristani; Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi (who was replaced in 2014); the Director General of the South Oil Company, Dhia Jaffar al-Mousawi, who in 2015 became a deputy minister; and top oil official Oday al-Quraishi.

Iran

Everything works and progresses on connections, relations with special talent”. So wrote an Iranian fixer, part of Unaoil’s remarkable network of insiders dedicated to paying and pocketing bribes. After the recent relaxing of United Nations, US and European sanctions, this network has become even more valuable.

In 2006, this Unaoil operative complained in emails that one of the company’s clients, UK firm Weir Pumps (now owned by US firm SPX), owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars which he had promised to use in part to sling to others in Iran.

“[It] is the end of Iranian new year here, expectations high, I am short in cash, and about five million pounds of business with Weir [is] in danger… Because I can not fulfill my obligations to my team of Supporters.”

If the money was not forthcoming, he warned, Weir Pumps risked “melting like a piece of ice, day by day.”

“…over half a million dollars of my consultancy fee… I have already spend it for the promotion of their businesses in Iran.”

A separate set of leaked memos from 2006 said Unaoil would pay “10 k/month” to secure the support of the managing director of a firm chaired by a high ranking Iranian official, part owned by an Iranian government entity and overseen by a board with “political influence.”

Libya

In 2004, when the West began removing sanctions against Libya, and the regime of Colonel Gaddafi started dealing with foreign companies, Unaoil stood ready.

By 2011, its network of corrupt insiders included officials and front men able to influence the dealings of many of Libya’s most important oil and gas agencies.

In late 2008, a Canadian drilling firm, Canuck Completions, told Unaoil it was “curious about … what type of Baksheesh is needed to present to these men in order to get work” in Libya.

Among Unaoil’s corrupt insiders was the powerful Libyan official, Mustafa Zarti, a confidant for the Gaddafi regime. Unaoil’s files describe Zarti as “good friends of President Ghadafi’s [sic] son of Libya and have lot of influence in lobbying the jobs in Libya”. Unaoil agreed to secretly pay Zarti millions of dollars. In return he would use his influence to advantage Unaoil’s clients.

“MZ [Zarti] sits on the board of LFIC [Libyan Foreign Investment Committee] … which controls… Oil fund ($6bn) … He sees his role as us executing and him fixing issues we come across. MZ has agreed to bring all his oil & gas work to us,” a September 2006 Unaoil memo said.

Unaoil’s multinational clients in Libya included Malaysian giant Ranhill, Korean conglomerate ISU and Spanish company Tecnicas Reunidas.

Syria and Yemen

In Syria, Unaoil turned to a middleman close to the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

In 2008 and 2009, Unaoil promised the man 2.75 million euros who helped its British client Petrofac win contracts from Assad regime petroleum companies. “Strictly confidential” emails from 2008 show this middleman promised to pay others to win these contracts.

But when he was not paid on time, he complained the delays were causing problems with “friends” in Syria.

“It is becoming very unpleasant [sic] for me not delivering as expected,” he wrote to Unaoil in December 2009.

Petrofac is understood to be unaware of Unaoil’s involvement in its Syrian dealings and in response to questions said it “aspires to the highest standards of ethical behaviour”.

In Yemen, Unaoil paid millions to a. Swiss account belonging to fixer and businessman Haitham Alaini, the son of the former Yemeni prime minister. In return, Alaini used his contacts in the Yemen to help Unaoil.

zerohedge



14 Comments on "Presenting, “The Company That Bribed The World”"

  1. Dredd on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 6:04 am 

    Regular readers have known about Oil-Qaeda for a long time (Oil-Qaeda & MOMCOM Conspire To Commit Depraved-Heart Murder – 4).

  2. Davy on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 6:48 am 

    Why should it matter if companies are bribing when the global system is one big bribe. Capitalism is about greed and winning at all costs. Capitalism and the lust for profit has infected every spectrum of the human society. The global system is completely corrupted because it has hit limits and diminishing returns. We are in overshoot at all levels except reason. Fairness and rule of law are expense we can no longer afford because of the greed games.

    The global world is in decay so the winners will be those who cut corners and cheat. This is at all levels and within ourselves. We finger point but can’t look in the mirror. We are all guilty some more than others. Until we look in the mirror and acknowledge the part we play in the corruption we will never be able to make the changes necessary to make better decisions.

    The only way forward is relative sacrifice. We all have to make do with less with the understanding the future is one of decline and decay. We will have to accept growth is over with consumption. Deaths will have to outnumber births from here on out. Changes will not be perfect or fair but if change does not happen at some basic level we are doomed without any hope. If we as a collective people fail to admit to this then we deserve what we get.

    You can finger point at one or another party but we are all in this together. We will all fail together some sooner than others. Some will have some lucky and some will get the judgment they deserve. Those who discount and dismiss reality will pay a heavy price. This includes those in denial who are also victims. Reality does not care about human values and morality. This doesn’t not mean human values and morality is not a part of reality it just means they are not above reality. Human exceptionalism in the extreme is a disease. Human exceptionalism is extreme today like no other time in our history as a species. Greed, corruption, and exploitation are the results of human exceptionalism today.

    If you will exploit nature without regards it is a slippery slope to exploitation of your fellow human then finally yourself. A crisis will change much but human nature is surely an evolutionary dead-end. You can’t change stupid and you can’t change excessive unhealthy pride. Enjoy your life while you can because the grim reaper is mounting his horse and ready to clean house.

  3. Davy on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 6:57 am 

    You know the world is flying apart when wrong is right and right is wrong. When good is good or bad depending on if it fits the fantasy.

    “S&P Revises China’s Credit Outlook To Negative On Growth, Debt Concerns – Full Text”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-31/sp-revises-chinas-credit-outlook-negative-growth-debt-concerns-full-text

    “Ripley’s believe it or not world continues. Earlier today, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng market entered a bull market, rising 20% from its February lows, just as Hong Kong retail sales plunged 20.6%, the bigest drop since 1999…… and then moments ago, in a move that pushed the Chinese Yuan stronger at least initially, S&P revised its Chinese outlook to negative, saying the economic rebalancing is likely to proceed more slowly than had expected over next 5 years and warning about China’s debt load.”

  4. Davy on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 6:59 am 

    “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath”
    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/from_democracy_to_pathocracy_the_rise_of_the_political_psychopath

    “Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this… That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.”—Dr. Martha Stout, clinical psychologist and former instructor at Harvard Medical School”

  5. paulo1 on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 9:17 am 

    Davy,

    Excellent comments, today. I do agree with you that all of us will have to accept to take less as this unfolds. However, I need to add that it won’t be willingly.

    Right now 45% of jobs that do not need advanced training are filled with college graduates. (Not that college, itself, is worthwhile). Nevertheless, it acts as a filter to screen out opportunities. Those willing to take on debt or have wealthy families will be able to work a bit longer. I suppose the rest will be flashing EBT cards, protesting, or cooking meth.

    When I was a kid I knew several folks of my parents generation with very good jobs in the pulp mill industry. Some could not read or write due to the war years, WW2. By the time I graduated high school in ’73 it took a high school diploma to get an application to fill out, although they did make exceptions. By the mid 80s it took two years of post secondary to get an interview. My the mid 90’s the mills shut down.

  6. joe on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 9:41 am 

    Oh no a news outlet says theres corruption!
    Now sit back and watch while nothing happens.
    The global media is more worried about corruption in world soccer, than global oil and stock markets.
    Those people who will read about this and be outraged, will be already of a particular audience anyway, like us (or not outraged).
    The masses are too busy watching porn or looking for milfs on tinder.

  7. twocats on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 10:46 am 

    I’m fairly certain the corruption has increased significantly as “proper” channels to wealth creation have been slowly eliminated (at all levels, like paulo1 states).

    So the amount of water flowing downriver to the lower classes has started to be less and less. And its beginning to bend under the strain:

    http://mishtalk.com/2016/03/30/lower-third-of-population-goes-deeper-in-debt-cannot-afford-any-price-increases/

    There is obviously a lot of nuance in the “less and less” statement. Just to give one example, women started working more hours starting in the 70s increasing household income, but since wage growth has rarely kept up with inflation, this essentially resulted in keeping income steady for most households. Work more, get the same.

    OTOH there is technology which has become IMHO much cheaper for what you get. But check out this article and the third to last chart. Notice a trend starting around 2000?

    http://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Household-Income-Distribution.php

    A lot of resistance, rebellion, fascism is born out of expectations. If people expect a certain outcome in their lives and don’t get it they become angry or despondent. Depending on who gets blamed for that outcome…

  8. claman on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 10:56 am 

    Davy, thanks for the words. George Orwell once said:
    “People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.”

  9. penury on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 12:06 pm 

    Davy I am forced to agree with your comments, however to cure the coruption will take time and real effort. This will not occur before collase is obvious to the majority. As long as the sheeple are provided their “mites” they will support the system. If you disagree look at Hillary running for Pre. Corzine wandering the world and other examples too numerous to list.

  10. eugene on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 12:58 pm 

    Get over it people. Corruption is a fact of life. There isn’t any “cure”. Only in America do we dream of some perfect, utopian world and, of course, it’s always who we are. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be so “offended”. Hell I saw that as a kid. Some environmental law or other and the local business gets a “waiver”. Nice word “waiver”. So clean, pristine, legal and all that kind of BS.

  11. Anonymous on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 2:40 pm 

    Interesting. JewHedge runs a story uncovering corruption (only) in nations that have been the prime targets for uS led invasions or destabilization. I mean 25 million in bribes, seriously? Thats would be called pocket change here in the free world order. 190 million Euros, ~ 350-400 million? Not exactly pocket change, but hardly top tier either as far as global elites go.

    Even the articles title is pretentious, overblown hyperbole. The company that bribed the world, really? Take a look at Libor, the wall st crash, Olympic committee, FIFA, uS oil corps, the Mil-indus complex, the pentagon, ZIRP, ‘quantitative easing’, buying AAA ratings from rating agencies, then maybe we can talk about ‘bribing the world’.

    Come on people, this article is nothing but neo-liberal, globalist propaganda intended to show the nations in question-all targets for uS ‘regime-change’, in the worst possible light. The only nations mentioned, are PNAC targets and have suffered greatly under amero-zionist attacks over 20 years. The article reeks of bias and selective targeting, and you all fell for it. Huffpost is a card-carrying member of the neo-liberal media elite these days, and acts in concert with other highly concentrated globalist media that works to advance uS propaganda, narratives and goals. I’m rather suprised they didnt thrown Russia and China in there too, for good measure….

  12. onlooker on Thu, 31st Mar 2016 5:52 pm 

    ha, here we get to the nitty gritty of what and who we are as a species at this moment in time. Thank you Davy, for those comments. This is a time for the entire news board here to realize that everyone is stained, everyone corrupt etc. Stop pointing fingers because they can just as easily be pointed in your direction as well. All countries have descended to the lowest common denominator. The only thing right now holding this thing together is the nuclear family. Other than that all the world is a cesspool of false slogans and gilded images. Nothing can be salvaged from this system. It is better to start anew from scratch.

  13. Dooma on Fri, 1st Apr 2016 5:21 am 

    “More recently, we’ve seen how oil funds terrorism”

    Um, shouldn’t that say “oil powers machines of war to invade countries and create freedom fighters called by the Zionist owned media as terrorists to maintain the wars”?

  14. Dredd on Fri, 1st Apr 2016 11:42 am 

    Lot of Stockholm syndrome sufferers here.

    (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment).

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