Brian Sims

SFO secures confiscation against former Petrofac executive

FOLLOWING ON from a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has secured a confiscation order worth over £140,000 against former Petrofac senior executive David Lufkin.

In October, Lufkin – former head of sales at Petrofac – was handed a two-year custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months. He had previously pleaded guilty to 14 counts of bribery and admitted making corrupt payments between 2011 and 2018 in a bid to influence the awarding of contracts to the Petrofac Group.

In addition to pleading guilty, Lufkin co-operated with SFO investigators and assisted the wider investigation process.

This case has also seen the SFO secure convictions against Petrofac Ltd, with the company ordered to pay £77 million in fines (including a confiscation order worth over £22 million) after pleading guilty to seven counts of failing to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.

Commenting on the confiscation order, Emma Luxton (the SFO’s head of proceeds of crime and international assistance) said:  “This ruling is yet another example of the SFO’s dogged determination to trace and recover the proceeds of bribery and corruption around the world. The confiscation order sends a strong message that crime does not pay.”

Criminal gains

Earlier this year, the SFO was praised by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate for its overall work to recover the proceeds of crime, with cases “handled proactively and efficiently by dedicated and skilled staff.”

Stephen Whiteley, a former territory manager for Unaoil, was found guilty in July 2020 of paying over $500,000 in bribes to win a $55 million contract for Unaoil to supply oil infrastructure in Iraq.

The SFO secured the convictions against Whiteley and three other senior oil executives in an investigation which uncovered schemes designed to pay a total of $17 million in bribes to win $1.7 billion in contracts for Unaoil in Iraq.

This latest recovery means the SFO’s confiscation of illicit gains since 2017 stands at well over £1.2 billion. Other notable successes include the £1.2 million secured from the luxury West London property of corrupt Brazilian agent Julio Faerman and the £2 million recouped from the sale of two properties and a cache of jewellery linked to suspected Birmingham fraudster Nisar Afzal.

The SFO’s Petrofac investigation originated from its investigation into Unaoil.

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