An Innospec Inc. (IOSP) agent who worked for the chemical company in Iraq on U.N. Oil-for-Food Program contracts pleaded guilty to charges related a fraud and bribery scheme.
Ousama M. Naaman, a Canadian/Lebanese dual national who lives in Abu Dhabi, pleaded guilty to a count of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsify records. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Innospec itself pleaded guilty to bribing Iraqi officials and violating the U.S. embargo on Cuba in March as part of a $40.2 million global settlement.
Friday, the Justice Department said Naaman paid kickbacks to Iraqi government between 2001 and 2003 to win oil-for-food program contracts by negotiation a 10% increase in the price to cover the kickbacks.
Naaman also admitted that from 2004 to 2008, he paid or promised to pay more than $3 million in bribes to officials in Iraq's oil ministry and the Trade Bank of Iraq. The bribes secured sales of tetraethyl lead, a fuel additive, and more favorable exchange rates. He gave Innospec false invoices, which were incorporated into the company's books.
Innospec shares traded up 1.5% recently at $10.51. The stock is virtually flat with its year-earlier level, underperforming the broader market.
-By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; firstname.lastname@example.org