50 Shades of Corruption: Unaoil, Worse than you Thought It Could Get!

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Where there’s money there’s bound to be corruption. And there is big money in oil. Thus there is also big corruption.

A new document dump from a company that works to secure contracts between companies and oil producing nations has been investigated by Fairfax Media and the Huffington Post shows the depth of depravity that circles the globe in the form of companies chasing oil contracts.

A six-month investigation reveals that government contracts to the tune of billions of dollars were awarded as the direct result of bribes paid on behalf of international, high-profile companies including Rolls-Royce, Halliburton, Australia’s Leighton Holdings and Korean corporate giants Samsung and Hyundai.

At the center of the investigation is a shadowy company based in Monaco called Unaoil. The company, a family affair run by Ata Ashani and his sons Cyrus and Saman, works to connect businesses with oil contracts in countries that are often less than stable. By inserting themselves between the purchaser and the country looking to sell its oil, the Ahsantis and Unaoil skim off a nice percentage for themselves, which helps to fuel their lavish jet-set lifestyles, rubbing shoulders with princes and kings, sheiks and billionaires around the world.

And in order to secure those contracts in some of the most volatile places in the world, Unaoil had to pay out a lot of bribes.

The documents expose the corruption of two Iraqi oil ministers, a Syrian senior aide to Bashar al-Assad, officials in Gaddafi’s Libyan regime, Iranian oil officials as well as Kuwaitis. The corporations involved in the bribery schemes are a veritable alphabet soup of well-known international companies, and various officials at those companies pocketed kickbacks themselves.

What’s especially sickening is how the company swooped in, in the wake of the Iraq invasion, which as everyone knows, was, of course, not about oil at all.

According to their own documents, Unaoil paid $25 million in bribes to secure the loyalty of Iraqi officials and make sure that lucrative contracts would be steered to their clients. Meanwhile, according to those documents, Unaoil officials referred to the Iraqis on the receiving end of the bribes “assholes, and greedy.”

Between 2002 and 2012 Unaoil made a great deal of money off those same people,

But of course you have to spend money to make money. The documents reveal the web of bribery in Iraq stretched throughout the government. One official, Oday al-Quraishi was revelaed to have received a monthly payoff of $6,000, which the meticulous ledgers of the Unaoil itemzed thus: “$5K for him, and $1K he needs for presents to people within.”

But if you’re waiting for charges to come down on officials at Halliburton or thinking you might see Dick Cheney hauled away on a perp-walk, don’t hold your breath. While the documents reveal the depths of corruption in the global oil industry, the other thing the show is how entrenched in every level of government and business such practices are.

These people will stop at nothing to make money, hence the poisoning of our planet.


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