Unaoil says corruption allegations distorted, claims it was victim of extortion

Unaoil, a Monaco-based oil services company involved in a global bribery scandal implicating energy industry majors like Halliburton, National Oilwell Varco, Keppel and Kvaerner, has said it has been ‘the victim of a four-month extortion attempt by criminals’.

To remind, The Huffington Post and its Australian partner, Fairfax Media, in April revealed results of a six-month investigation of Unaoil implicating big multinational oil companies and politicians in a global web of bribery in the Middle East and Africa from 2002 until 2012.

The Huffington Post named a number of oil companies as implicated in the bribery scandal including Halliburton, Kvaerner, National Oilwell Varco, Keppel, and Turkish joint venture GATE.

The Norwegian services provider Kvaerner denied the allegations saying that its operations involving Unaoil were conducted ‘properly and within the relevant frameworks for good integrity’.

“We have been shocked by how these allegations have, without any due process, been repeated,” Unaoil said in April after the allegations of widespread corruption came to light.

Back to current events, according to Unaoil’s statement on Monday, the extortionists demanded huge sums of money from the company in exchange for stolen emails and threatened that if the company didn’t pay they would go to the media.

In the statement, Unaoil also said: “Our expert advisers have indicated to us that they believe the extortionists are at the very least involved with the media sources of the articles published by Fairfax Media and Huffington Post.

“Despite being told by our company that the emails they were in possession of were stolen, Fairfax Media rushed to publish them, and we are deeply disturbed by their actions, which have had a negative impact on our business,” the company added.

Unaoil went on to deny the allegations made by Fairfax Media’s reporters saying it would defend itself and explore all legal options.

“We are engaging with the UK Authorities and therefore are unable to comment in any detail at this time. We stand by our firm’s legacy and look forward to the facts of this case being properly brought to light,” Unaoil said.

The company also said that “Fairfax Media’s reporting is littered with sensationalist distortions and misleading correlations”.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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