Following on from our Part 3 about corruption in the Al Badie Group, we are releasing two audio recordings made available to us from a reported total of approximately 40 previously thought to have been lost by the relevant parties (Consultants) until recently in which Majid Shunnag, Al Badie Trading Establishment’s then senior marketing manager and Al Badie family representative is heard vividly recounting the bribery of a top level official by his chairman Mohammed Al Badie (Al Badie) on behalf of Bechtel Corporation as reported in previous parts 2 and 3. As the conversations in these recordings are in Arabic this article is targeted at our Arabic speaking readers.
Disc 33 part 2 (February 2001) captures Shunnag admitting that a bribe was paid by Al Badie to, quote:
“a very influential “ex Adnoc” individual“
who according to Shunnag was instrumental in securing the successful award in respect of Bechtel’s winning bid for the $600 million-plus Borouge ethylene plant contract. For the avoidance of doubt, an official transcript of the relevant excerpt from Disc 33 is enclosed.
Disc 15 part 1 (December 2001) captures Shunnag acknowledging the following:
“I know the identity of the individual who received the 40% but not the name of his company. Al Badie has many companies and he could have been paid by any one of them“
In Disc 17 scheduled for our next publication on 7 May, Shunnag reveals the full identity of this official who in confidential corespondence by both Al Badie and Shunnag was referred to by the initials “MH”. It is understood that “MH” simultaneously held a number of highly influential public sector positions one of them being the trusted advisor to the then top ruling body in Abu Dhabi.The identity of “MH” will be made known in an upcoming publication.
The Consultants assert that contemporaneously to the Bechtel events in 1998-2000, Al Badie incorporated a Panamanian registered shell company and opened an account with Credit Suisse First Boston, Geneva for the purpose of receiving payments from Bechtel and payout the corresponding amounts to the third parties. The Consultants point out that in spite of Bechtel and other U.S. multi nationals’ known disapproval to paying commissions into offshore accounts which lack transparency for fear of violating strict FCPA guidelines. It also became known following disclosures in 2016 from the Panama Papers leaks that “MH” is the beneficiary of a Panamanian registered shell company.
The origin of corruption within ABG:
Available records indicate that the first seeds of corruption and deception were planted by Shunnag in the mid 80s upon joining Al Badie Trading Establishment (ATE), a member company of the Al Badie Group.
In a June 1995 confidential report by the Commercial Attache at the Finnish Embassy in Abu Dhabi in Shunnag is described as the ex Jordanian Air Force Intelligence officer as being unscrupulous and dishonest who entangled Al Badie Trading Establishment in a deceptive and failed attempt to purchase Swiss training planes on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, quote:
“unscrupulously taking advantage of the confusion in the similarity of names with that of the Army General Mohammed bin Saeed Al Badi, then Interior Minister”.
Drawing from his previous experiences in defence with the Jordanian Armed Forces and later with Marconi Italiana, he set about methodically corrupting the well-thought-of and well-connnected Mohammed Jo’an Rashid Al Badie patriarch of the Al Badie dynasty and his son and heir Khaled. Itcame as no surprise that Shunnag’s malign influence on the then young Khaled manifested itself two decades later in the infamous Serious Fraud Office prosecution of Sweett PLC (Ref. Southwark Crown Court Regina -v- Sweett Group PLC Case No. T20157529 February 2016).
To any observer who is familiar with the Al Badie Group, the tapes reveal an extraordinary picture of Shunnag’s malign influence who established his own independent “franchise”, virtually a company-within-a company, and introduced his unique brand of corruption.They show Shunnag gradually transforming Al Badie Trading Establishment and its owners into one riddled with corruption, intrigue and double-dealing, not only in respect of nefarious practices outside the company as in the cases of Bechtel and IPIC but, astonishingly, within the company itself.
The Consultants claim that Shunnag made it clear to them from the beginning that they had to “deal” with him first and only after acquiescing to his demands would they be allowed “admission” as clients. The Consultants assert that they were under no illusion that Shunnag’s demands were a mafia-style money “protection” racket in exchange for access to Al Badie whom he controlled by being his exclusive gatekeeper and sole custodian of all “sensitive” files allowing him to manipulate and forge documents at will. The Consultants also assert that it soon became clear that the Al Badies were complicit by aiding and abetting Shunnag in his extortion schemes. We understand that records of letters being legalised clearly demonstrate Al Badies’ active participation with Shunnag in the defraudment of clients. We understand that the Consultants have evidence that the Al Badies became Shunnag’s willing partners as soon as they realised that their share increased by a substantial percentage, as he ensured that they received their dues from his extra curricular activities. Eventually only monitary differences between them precipitated an unceremonious fall-out which led to Shunnag’s departure in 2013 followed by a bitter legal wrangling over divisions of the proceeds . Reportedly, the records held by the Consultants prove that Shunnag’s personal take alone netted him in excess of a staggering US$1.5 million of Consultant’s contractually receivable payments whilst Al Badies’ topped several million.
The Consultants claim that aside from Al Baldie’s theft of their lawful earnings from the Bechtel transaction, large portions of their contractually agreed commissions from interconnected and overlapping deals such as Neste Oy’s Borealis shares sale to International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), were sequestered under duress and then paid as “bribes” to his coterie of “facilitators” in the Abu Dhabi Establishment, one of whom, according to Shunnag, was a close relative who he singled out as being a “a permanent fixture” on Al Badie’s bribery list. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires in Abu Dhabi mentioned him in a July 6th, 2004 classified cable to the CIA, Defence Intelligence Agency, U.S. National Security Coucil, and the Department of The Treasury, amongst others, describes the relative as follows:
“he reportedly made millions of dollars simply by agreeing to put certain projects on the Council’s agenda for deliberation. “(Name)” has owed his prominent position to a close friendship with (Sheikh ………)”.
For our next publication we understand the Consultants will make available audio evidence of Al Badie and Shunnag giving inconsistent and contradictory reasons for Bechtel’s sudden termination of the Agency Agreement dated 28 March, 1998 which the Consultants claim strains credulity and gives cause to allegations of deliberate concealement by both Al Badie and Bechtel for reasons explained in our previous Part 3 published on 22 February, 2018
In our next posting on 7 May, we shall publish, subject to their release, a document in which Al Badie confirms the amount of the “bribes” designated to well-known high-level Abu Dhabi public servants whom he identifies by their initials. And in another bearing his signature, he demands to paid US$ 10 million which he would pass on to one of Abu Dhabi’s top Establishment to make the deal happen.
Enclosures: Disc 15 (part 1), Disc 33 (part 2), English Transcription of the relevant excerpt from Tape 33 and Al Badie Group mired in corruption Parts 1, 2 and 3