Australian media lifts lid on oil industry corruption

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Sydney, March 31 (IANS) Australian media has lifted the lid on allegations of corruption in the oil industry dating back decades, implicating global companies, officials and ministers, likely renewing investigations that had stalled.

Hundreds of internal emails from Monaco-based company Unaoil, leaked to Fairfax Media published late Wednesday night as part of a six-month long investigation, allegedly showed the family-owned business acting as a middle man to funnel multi-million dollar bribes to state officials deciding contracts on rig projects in the Middle East.

The emails implicate global corporates such as US based Halliburton, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motors, Australia’s CIMIC Group and Britain’s Rolls Royce, among others.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) told Xinhua news agency on Thursday that it was conducting an investigation into the allegations “that employees of the Leighton Group companies were involved in the payment of bribes during two oil projects in Iraq in 2010 and 2011.”

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“As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” an AFP spokesperson said.

The documents allege some business either did not know or believe corruption was occurring, while others ignored or actively participated. The tactics employed include bribing officials, avoiding or rigging tender committees or obtaining leaked information for advantage.

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