A 54-year-old Brisbane man who was an alleged “significant player” in a complex scheme to bribe Iraqi officials to approve oil contracts worth billions of dollars has been hit with a fresh bribery charge.
The new charge relates to $US4 million in suspicious payments linked to a $US66.48 million contract for a port project in Tanzania.
A nine-year international investigation focusing on two Iraqi contracts worth a combined $US1.46 billion led to the arrest of the man – the former director of Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd – at his home in November.
Those contracts involved the development of oil pipelines designed to increase the capacity of Iraq’s crude oil export. Investigators identified $US77.6 million in suspicious payments made via third-party contractors.
The new charge, laid on February 19, involves alleged improper payments made by Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd, the Singapore-registered operating company of Australian-registered company Leighton Holdings Ltd.
Leighton Holdings Ltd is now known as CIMIC Group Ltd.
Federal police allege public officials in the Tanzania Ports Authority were targets of bribes to secure a contract for a single point mooring replacement project in the east African country in 2009 and 2010.
Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd was awarded the Tanzanian project in August 2010, with the contract allegedly valued at $US66.48 million.
However, police have allegedly uncovered $US4 million in suspicious payments incorporated into Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd’s subcontracts with third parties.
“AFP investigators worked closely with international law enforcement partners and the Tanzanian Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau during the six-year investigation to seize more than one million documents and obtain evidence from five countries,” the AFP said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 54-year-old Brisbane man has been charged with one foreign bribery offence and will appear at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.
CIMIC Group declined to comment on the matter.
Last month, former Leighton Holdings executive David Savage was charged over the alleged bribes involving Iraqi oil fields, having returned from France on December 27 and completed 14 days of hotel quarantine.
The 60-year-old Savage, the firm’s ex-chief operating officer, was charged with knowingly providing misleading information in breach of the corporations act.