WILL this add to the Berejiklian Government woes … not only from the DEFECTIVE APARTMENT BUILDING CRISIS (85% DEFECTIVE ON COMPLETION: REPORTS) … but it would appear that Leightons (now CIMIC) was under bribery investigation while building the Metro and WestConnex? Yet they won the tenders anyway!
The OTS contract was awarded – reported on 16 September 2014
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced that Sydney’s brand new rapid transit trains will run every four minutes on the North West Rail Link …
Sydney Metro $1.37Bn Chatswood to Bankstown Contract Awarded
The contract of $1.37 billion will be an unincorporated joint venture of the two CIMIC Group companies (formerly Leightons) and includes …
A Dairy Farm in North Richmond is to make way for Housing!
The Metro rail link is privately owned by the Hong Kong Consortium MTR, apartment developers (60% shareholding), China’s CCCC owns what was Australia’s John Holland Group and UGL Rail, a division of United Group Limited (CIMIC formerly Leightons). The NSW Government sold off the Epping to Chatswood public heavy rail link to this Consortium!
Questions to be answered over Leightons Involvement in WestConnex
Guilty plea in London exposes Australian company for alleged corruption
July 22, 2019
A missing piece from Australia’s longest-running corporate bribery jigsaw has fallen into place, with a guilty plea in a London court proving what the Australian Federal Police have not – that Australian construction giant Leighton Holdings bribed its way to a billion-dollar contract in Iraq.
The guilty plea by a bagman who called himself “The Captain”, but whose real name is Basil Al Jarah, raises a host of questions for Australian authorities, not least the failure to charge a single former Leighton executive with bribery.
The plea also reveals that Leighton’s corruption started earlier and continued longer than previously thought: from 2010 to late 2013.
The UK case also raises the prospect that Unaoil insiders, including Al Jarah, are finally co-operating with authorities.
If so, it could mean further investigation into the former Leighton executives who hired or dealt with Unaoil.
Al Jarah has pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to Iraqi officials on behalf of Leighton between August 2010 and December 2013. This means the conspiracy continued for almost two years after federal police began their probe into the very same bribery.
In other words, Leighton’s British bagman was still engaged in a corruption conspiracy on behalf of the Australian firm 22 months after it had professed publicly to taking action to stop his corruption by alerting police and conducting an internal probe.
When Al Jarah began his corrupt acts for Leighton’s Singapore subsidiary in August 2010, Wal King was the parent company’s CEO, a role he would hold until January 2011. There is no suggestion Mr King knew of the corruption that occurred on his watch as the company’s top manager. But other top executives were warned.
In November 2010, acting CEO David Stewart made what is among the more infamous handwritten memos in corporate Australian history.
Mr Stewart recorded a purported statement by another senior manager, David Savage, that the company that employed Al Jarah, Unaoil, was paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes for Leighton in Iraq in order to secure it a massive contract to construct an oil pipeline.
Mr Stewart failed to report this statement to police, although company lawyers stumbled upon it months later and referred it to the AFP.
*The AFP began its investigation into Leighton in February 2012. It is still running.
The genesis of the guilty plea in London on Friday was 2016 revelations in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald about Al Jarah’s employer, Unaoil.
In addition to Leighton, Unaoil worked for the biggest oil industry companies in the world, including Rolls Royce, Hyundai and Halliburton.
The Age and Herald analysed hundreds of thousands of leaked Unaoil emails — many written in code — then reported in March 2016 how Unaoil had acted as a global bagman for dozens of major companies.
The stories prompted investigations by the UK Serious Fraud Office, the FBI, Swiss, French and Italian authorities, but was also subject to attacks via the owners of Unaoil, the wealthy Ahsani family of Monaco.
The Ahsani’s lawyer, Sydney solicitor Rebekah Giles, attacked the reporting that exposed Unaoil’s corruption as unfounded and unjust.
Unaoil found an ally in The Australian, which ran sympathetic pieces for the Ahsani family in which they pushed claims the leaked data didn’t expose corruption but rather had been stolen by someone to blackmail the company.
The publicity campaign by Unaoil was no more than a smokescreen for its own corruption. Unaoil could threaten and thunder — at one point one journalist from The Australian reported that a threatened lawsuit against The Age and Herald could cost the newspaper $100 million.
But the bribery campaign it had waged for multinationals across the globe was comprehensively captured in Unaoil’s own emails.
The emails described million-dollar bribes as “holidays”, gave corrupt politicians and bagmen code names like “the doctor” and “Mr Lighthouse” and complained about greedy officials who wanted bigger bribes.
The emails also exposed how Leighton’s billion-dollar-plus Iraq contracts were won via graft.
The expose has already triggered industrial behemoths Rolls Royce and TechnipFMC to settle Unaoil related investigations run by US or UK agencies by paying hundreds of millions of dollars.
There are ongoing investigations around the world into multinationals, as well as ongoing prosecutions of executives.
Last week, US defence giant Honeywell disclosed its relationship with Unaoil has led to it facing a corruption probe by American investigators.
Unaoil’s Iraq manager Basil Al Jarah was the first key figure to plead guilty to conspiring to pay bribes. Court files name his alleged co-conspirators as the three members of the Ahsani family who managed Unaoil – Ata and his sons Cyrus and Saman.
The Serious Fraud Office recently dropped criminal investigations against the Ahsanis, but the investigation into Unaoil, the company, continues. The FBI in the United States also continues its own investigation into the company and the Ahsani family.
The Ahsanis have consistently denied any wrongdoing, although they haven’t issued a statement for months.
Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter for The Age. He’s won seven Walkley awards and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.
Richard Baker is a multi-award winning investigative reporter for The Age.
Michael Bachelard is The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald’s foreign editor and the investigations editor at The Age. He has worked in Canberra, Melbourne and Jakarta as Indonesia correspondent. He has written two books and won multiple awards for journalism, including the Gold Walkley in 2017.