Well in case you missed it, the now ex CEO of the Oman Oil Company, Ahmed al-Wahaibi was sentenced last week to 23 years in prison and a total of RO 5 million in fines, along with the contents of his Swiss bank account too. He was charged on 3 counts:
10 years and RO 4 million for accepting bribes, 10 years for money laundering and 3 years and RO 1 million for abuse of office - and his sentences run successively.
The story (reuters) goes a little like this:
Korean based LGI (you might recognize them as LG - they make TV's amongst many other things) sent over their vice-CEO, Myung Jao Yoo, to win a lucrative RO 1 billion petrochemical project in the port of Sohar. Now, so the prosecution successfully argued, Myung Jao Yoo paid $8 million into a
Caribbean-registered company that was owned by Mr Wahaibi after the Sohar gig was awarded to LGI. But Mr Wahaibi stated in court last week that he, "didn't know why LGI transferred $8 million" into his Caribbean company. I want to know why I don't get erroneous bank transfers like that!
The plot thickens.
It appears that Ahmed and Myung had a little side gig going on, and Ahmed then gave Myung a bung from his $8 million "banking accident" too - I wonder if LGI knew that their vice-CEO was skimming from their own company? Then an aid to Mr Wahaibi, Adel al-Raisi who was also in on the scheme, and was found guilty of organizing the gig also got a bung from Mr Wahaibi. In court Adel said that he had admitted organizing the bribe and receiving the money 'under pressure'. I don't doubt that there was 'pressure' for an instant.
When asked in court how Myung could explain away receiving money from Mr Wahaibi, he rather amusingly said: "Maybe it was a birthday gift. I don't remember".
A-MAY-ZING. You can't make this stuff up! Gee, Mr Wahaibi is a pretty generous guy, giving his pal a few million bucks for his birthday!
Both Myung and Adel each got 10 years and a fine of RO 4 million, with deportation awaiting Myung at the end of his sentence - presumably into a pretty pissed of LG court case back in Korea - perhaps not, I dont know.
But why was Myung even IN Oman - I mean, surely if you'd just committed serious bribery to win a Billion rial gig and you didn't need to be there anymore, you'd make pretty damn sure you wouldn't go back to that country right? Well it seems that after the Swiss authorities contacted the Omani authorities regarding suspicious activities on Mr Wahaibi's account back in 2011, the hunt was on. So the rumour goes, Myung was lured to Oman for a special meeting - some variants on the rumour say it was for an extra-ordinary contract ratification - and that he was met at the airport here in Muscat around August last year by the ROP.
I wonder who's next?