A major foreign bribery scandal has rocked the construction sector in Sydney following a police decision to press charges against two of its directors with links to terrorism.
The Australian Federal Police last week pressed charges against Auburn based engineering and construction company Lifese Engineering directors Mandough and Ibrahim Elomar over allegations the two laundered almost $1 million overseas in order to pay bribes to government officials in Iraq.
The arrests followed two days of police searches by fraud and anti-corruption teams in the suburbs of Auburn, Catherine Field Denham Court and Fairfield.
Mamdough Elomar is the father of Mohammed Elomar, who is one of Australia’s most wanted terrorists and is infamous for allegedly posing with the severed heads of victims believed to have been killed by Islamic radicals in Syria, whilst his older brother Mohammed Ali Elomar is currently in jail for one of Australia’s largest terror plots.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin says the latest case is only the second foreign bribery case to reach the courts.
The AFP says it has fourteen publicly known foreign bribery investigations active at the moment.
Manager AFP Fraud and Anti-Corruption, Commander Linda Champion said the AFP was determined to help stamp out foreign bribery practices.
“Foreign bribery undermines the credibility of Australian businesses here and overseas, and where there are allegations that Australian companies or citizens are circumventing lawful processes when pursuing business opportunities, the AFP will investigate,” Champion said.
Based in Auburn, Lifese has been operating since 1986, Lifese provides services such as project feasibility, design, construction delivery and post-delivery maintenance across a number of sectors including petrochemical plants, oil refineries, power supply stations, civil engineering and railways across locations such as Australia, Papua New Guinea and Abu Dhabi.
Within hours of the raids, former New South Wales Liberal Party opposition leader John Dowd resigned as chairman of Lifese, where he had been a director for more than six years.
No charges have been laid against Dowd and there is no suggestion that he was involved in of any form of illegal impropriety.