June 26, 2018 / 3:56 PM / in 10 months

UK starts criminal proceedings against Unaoil firms over Iraq contracts

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - British prosecutors said on Tuesday they had started criminal proceedings against two companies of Monaco-based oil and gas services group Unaoil in an investigation into alleged corrupt payments to win contracts in Iraq.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which began an investigation into Unaoil in 2016, said representatives from Unaoil Monaco SAM and Unaoil Ltd had been asked to attend a London court on July 18 to be formally charged.

Its case against Unaoil Ltd relates to alleged corrupt payments to win a $733 million contract to build two oil pipelines in southern Iraq for Leighton Contractors Singapore PTE Ltd, the SFO said.

The Unaoil Monaco SAM’s case hinges on allegations of corrupt payments to secure Iraqi contracts for SBM Offshore.

The SFO has charged six individuals in its investigation into Unaoil, which is run by the wealthy Ahsani family.

Unaoil declined to comment.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley

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