Tag Archive | "Corruption"

The latest corruption news from Iraq – company or government bribes, theft, stealing – brought to you by Iraq Business News

Three Indicted for $23m Dinar Fraud

A federal grand indicted three men from the Toledo area for their roles in the operation of a $23 million fraud scheme involving the sale of Iraqi dinar currency and two non-existent hedge funds, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati field office.

Those indicted are: Bradford L. Huebner, 66, of Ottawa Hills, Ohio; Charles N. Emmenecker, 66, of Sylvania, Ohio, and Michael L. Teadt, 67, of Maumee, Ohio.

Rudolph M. Coenen, age 47, of Jacksonville, Florida, has already pleaded guilty to crimes related to his role in the conspiracy.

The men are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. Huebner is also charged with multiple counts of money laundering, structuring and willful failure to file currency and transaction reports.

As a result of the defendants’ conduct, investors lost about $23.8 million from dinar sales and more than $700,000 from the sale of non-existent hedge fund “seats” and “placements,” according to the indictment.

“These defendants made false statements time and again to convince people to part with their savings and hard-earned cash,” Dettelbach said. “The fact that they falsely claimed one member of the conspiracy was wounded while fighting in Iraq is particularly egregious.”

“Illegal activity involving the investment industry has brought financial ruin to many Americans,” Enstrom said. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling complex investment schemes to ensure that the promoters of these schemes do not use the financial-services industry for personal gain.”

Posted in Banking & Finance, SecurityComments (10)

Australian Oil-for-Food Case Dropped

By John Lee.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has today discontinued its proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria against Charles Stott and Michael Long for alleged breaches of their duties as officers of AWB Limited — formerly the Australian Wheat Board — in connection with the United Nations Oil for Food Programme in Iraq.

The discontinuance is by consent in both matters, on terms that the parties bear their own costs of and incidental to the proceeding. No finding of fault or declaration of contravention was made against Mr Stott or Mr Long.

ASIC decided to discontinue the proceedings after forming the view that it was no longer in the public interest to pursue its claims against Mr Stott, who was AWB’s former General Manager of International Sales and Marketing, and Mr Long, who succeeded Mr Stott in that role.

ASIC’s proceedings against Trevor Flugge, the former Chairman of AWB, and Peter Geary, the former Group General Manager Trading of AWB, are ongoing

In December 2007, ASIC commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria against six defendants for alleged breaches of their duties as directors and officers of AWB Limited. The proceedings arose from investigations conducted by ASIC following the completion of the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food Programme that had been established by the Australian Government.

In August 2012 Justice Robson of the Supreme Court of Victoria ordered that Andrew Lindberg, the former Managing Director of AWB be disqualified from managing corporations and pay a pecuniary penalty for contravening section 180(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 which requires company directors and officers to discharge their duties with due care and diligence.

In March 2013 the Victorian Court of Appeal ordered that Paul Ingleby, the former Chief Financial Officer of AWB, be disqualified from managing corporations and pay a pecuniary penalty for contravening section 180(1) of the Corporations Act 2001.

(Source: ASIC)

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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US Man Jailed for Iraq Generator Theft

By John Lee.

A US man who helped steal two 10-ton electrical generators from a military base in Iraq in four years ago has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $352,111 in restitution.

Ruebin S. Thomas, a former civilian contractor, had pleaded guilty to stealing the two generators from the Camp Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, but received a stiffer term than the two years called for at the top of the sentencing guidelines sought by prosecutors.

“It seems to me that a message needs to be sent,” said U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne in imposing the sentence.

Thomas, who worked for Honeywell Technologies, stole two generators valued at $176,000 each in June 2009. An unidentified businessman paid Thomas $10,000 in cash, which he split with another unidentified person, said his lawyer.

(Source: Richmond Times)

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Doubt Surrounds Satarem-Missan Refinery Deal

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Recent information on Satarem sheds serious doubt about its prospects and ability for executing the Missan Refinery project.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil signed, in the presence of the Prime Minister Mr. Nuri Al-Maliki, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Swiss firm Satarem (represented by what was reported as Chief Executive Jerome Friler) on 10 October for the development of a 150 kbd refinery in Missan province at an estimated cost of $6 billion.

Almost a year ago I received communication from a consultant with a California based financial firm enquiring about Missan refinery and stating “For the last year or so, I have been working with an Iraqi group, developing the [Missan] refinery complex”. A few weeks later I received communication from an Iraqi law firm in Baghdad indicating they were “Advising on [Missan] refinery construction”. The two communications might be connected!

When reviewing information on the signed MoU, I assumed the above mentioned financial and legal firms were involved in the project. But soon afterwards the California based consultant informed me they were not, adding further, “We are of the opinion that the sovereign and financial payment extension risk in Iraq is too high to justify any investment from [….], at this time.”

Most of the comments reported within business, professional and media circles since the signing of the MoU are that Satarem is not known to be a refinery-specialized firm, or to have a track record in modern refinery construction. I did not find information on this company in the “Public Companies” or “Investment Fund Group” of the SEDAR company database.

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Iraq Falls in Corruption Perceptions Index

By John Lee.

Transparency International has said that Iraq has fallen one place in its global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

From at total of 177 countries, Iraq came in at number 171, putting it in 7th-last position.

This result puts it ahead of countries such as Libya, South Sudan, and Somalia (which came last), and just behind Syria, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Denmark and New Zealand shared first place, followed closely by Finland and Sweden.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions.

(Corruption image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Industry & Trade, SecurityComments (0)

Iraq Firm Pays $2.7m in Settlement

By John Lee.

The US Department of Justice has said that an Iraqi construction company has paid $2.7 million to resolve allegations that it bribed a former US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) official to win contracts in Iraq.

Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau (ICCB), headquartered in Baghdad, had reached the settlement of alleged violations of the False Claims Act.

The federal government alleged that from 2007 to 2008, John Alfy Salama Markus, then a Corps contracting officer, received bribes from ICCB in exchange for information about reconstruction contracts.

The department also noted that the claims involved in the agreement are allegations and added that “there has been no determination of liability.” The settlement agreement states that it “is neither an admission of liability by ICCB nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.”

The charges relate to 10 contracts, including security enhancements at the Bayji [Baiji] oil refinery, new health care centers in the Salah ad Din province, a landfill in Baqubah, and a 12-room school in Said Sadiq.

In March, Salama Markus was sentenced to 13 years in prison and agreed to a $3.7-million judgment, which includes forfeiting a $1.1-million home, plus vehicles and motorcycles.

(Source: Engineering News Record, DoJ)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, SecurityComments (0)

Al-Qaeda Ups Mafia-Style Extortion in Mosul

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Making Themselves at Home: al Qaeda Ups Mafia-Style Extortion in Mosul

The northern Iraqi city of Mosul is well known as the base of Sunni Muslim extremists, Al Qaeda, in Iraq. But recently the militants have been stepping up their terrifying game, charging more and more “protection money” from an increasing range of individuals and businesses, and threatening and bombing any who refuse.

Recently there was a bomb blast at what is for some people in the troubled northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a piece of recent history. The owner of the Sama shopping mall in the Arabi neighbourhood, constructed at the cost of US$ 1 million and the first shopping mall to be built in Mosul, had refused to pay the “terror tax” that the local branch of Al Qaeda was demanding. The extremist organisation’s answer: On Oct. 23 a bomb, which resulted in 19 serious injuries and deaths.

On the very same day, the organization – known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS for short, or Daash – also bombed a restaurant. Apparently the owner of the Happy Restaurant in Mosul also had not paid the right amount to the extremist extortionists.

These unfortunate business owners are some of the small number who are refusing to pay the “protection money” that the Al Qaeda affiliates are demanding. Everyone else is paying up, say Mosul locals.

This sort of behaviour is nothing new for Al Qaeda – they have been extorting money from Mosul’s people for years, ever since 2004 in fact. The difference in the most recent threats and blackmail is that Al Qaeda is spreading the net wider and putting the prices higher, says a local writer Abdul Qader Mohie Saeed. For the first time, they are targeting mosques in the west of Mosul, schools, university professors and the owners of power generators; the latter are the owners of diesel fuelled power generators and locals pay for their use during breaks in government-supplied electricity (of which there are many).

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Former Marine Jailed for Iraq Bribery

By John Lee.

A former Marine has been sentenced to five years and three months in federal prison for his role in corruption in Iraq.

LA Times reports that former staff sergeant Gilbert Mendez is the 10th Marine who was stationed at Camp Fallouja to be convicted of corruption or fraud-related offensives.

Mendez, who served at the base in 2006, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was ordered to repay $150,000 to the Department of Defense.

He admitted that he took the bribes to award more than $2.6 million in contracts for three foreign-owned firms to provide goods and services at the base.

(Source: LA Times)

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