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Man Pleads to Bribing Iraqi Officials in Oil Contracts

iStock_000006637909XSmallBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man with Canadian-Lebanese dual citizenship pleaded guilty Friday to participating in an eight-year conspiracy to defraud the United Nations Oil for Food Program and bribing Iraqi officials in connection with the sale of a chemical additive used in the refining of leaded fuel, the Justice Department announced.

Ousama Naaman, 61, of Abu Dhabi, was arrested July 30, 2009, in Frankfurt and extradited to the United States, the Justice Department said. He pleaded guilty to charges including violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

From 2001 to 2003, acting on behalf of the company Innospec, Naaman paid 10 percent kickbacks to the then Iraqi government in exchange for five contracts, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said Naaman negotiated the contracts, which included a 10 percent price increase to cover the kickbacks, and routed the funds to Iraqi government accounts in the Middle East.

He also admitted that from 2004 to 2008 he paid more than $3 million worth of bribes in cash, travel, gifts, and entertainment, to officials of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the Trade Bank of Iraq to secure sales of tetraethyl lead in Iraq, as well as to secure “more favorable exchange rates on the contracts.” the Justice Department said. Naaman faces up to 10 years in prison.


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