By Elsa Baxter
Abu Dhabi resident admits to his part in an eight-year scam to defraud the UN.
An Abu Dhabi resident has admitted to bribing Iraqi officials and participating in an eight-year conspiracy to defraud the United Nations Oil for Food Programme, a US official has said.
Ousama M. Naaman, a 61 year-old Canadian-Lebanese national, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsifying the books of a US company, assistant attorney general Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division said in a statement.
Naaman is accused of paying kickbacks of 10 percent to the then Iraqi government in exchange for five contracts under the UN food programme.
He also admitted paying more than $3m in bribes to officials in order to secure contracts for the sale of a chemical additive used in the refining of leaded fuel, the statement said.
Naaman was arrested on July 30, 2009 in Frankfurt, Germany, and extradited to the United States.
The UAE resident and his companies were the Iraqi agents of the US company Innospec, Breuer said.
On March 18, Innospec pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with bribe payments to officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Oil.
Between 2001 and 2003, Naaman, acting on behalf of Innospec, negotiated contracts priced 10 percent higher and routed the funds to Iraqi government accounts in the Middle East, the statement said.
Naaman admitted bribing officials to secure sales of tetraethyl lead, as well as to secure more favorable exchange rates on the contracts, and providing Innospec with false invoices.
Naaman faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence if convicted. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled, the statement said.