Former Leighton Holdings COO arrested after leaving hotel quarantine

Former Leighton Holdings COO arrested after leaving hotel quarantine

The former chief operating officer of Leighton Holdings was arrested yesterday on charges of providing misleading information, after completing two weeks of quarantine in a Sydney hotel.

David Savage, identified by both News.com.au and the AFR, was arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) yesterday and appeared before the court via video link.

He has been charged with two counts of knowingly providing misleading information in a bribery scandal probe contrary to sections of the Corporations Act.

As reported by News.com.au the 60-year-old was granted conditional bail to live at a property in the Canberra suburb of Griffith and will be allowed to return to his home in Vernantes, France, on 23 March.

He arrived in Australia on 27 December from France and immediately entered hotel quarantine before being arrested after the period was completed.

The news comes after the arrest of Leighton's former senior executive Russell Waugh in November last year.

Waugh was charged with engaging in conduct to falsify the books linked to Leighton and knowingly providing misleading information to investigators. The 54-year-old was released on bail.

The AFP investigation began in November 2011 following the receipt of a report from Leighton Holdings about alleged improper payments made by Singapore registered entity Leighton Offshore regarding two contracts with Iraq Crude Oil Export in 2010 and 2011.

The investigation uncovered two contracts for the development and installation of onshore and offshore oil pipelines designed to increase the capacity of Iraq's crude oil export.  

For Leighton Offshore to be awarded the two contracts - which had a combined value of approximately USD$1.46 billion - approvals were required from the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the South Oil Company of Iraq.

"AFP investigators will allege Leighton Offshore Pty Ltd funnelled bribes through entities associated with Iyer-associated companies and Unaoil to guarantee approvals for the Iraq Crude Oil Export contracts," says the AFP.

The investigation identified approximately USD$77.6 million in suspicious payments allegedly made via third party contractors.

Savage's arrest also follows the acquittal of Leighton Holdings' former CFO Peter Alan Gregg in November on two counts of falsifying the books in relation to another scandal.

Gregg's charges followed from a Fairfax Media expose in 2016 regarding a $15 million payment made to a consultancy in Dubai.

The payment instruction directed that USD$12.5 million be paid for 'marketing and advisory' services and that USD$2.5 million be paid as a 'loan'.

During the trial, the Crown alleged that the payment instruction was false because it did not describe the true purpose of the payment.

Gregg was then sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months on count one and two years on count two, to be served concurrently by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

Gregg successfully appealed against both his conviction and his sentence.

Chief Justice Bathurst said in his judgment it could not be made out, beyond reasonable doubt, that Gregg believed the payment to be "reckless".

Photo via: AFP

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