Iraq names oil minister as head of new National Oil Company

Iraq’s government has named Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi as head of a new National Oil Company. (File/ Reuters)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Iraq names oil minister as head of new National Oil Company

IRBIL: Iraq’s government has named Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi as head of a new National Oil Company which will serve as an umbrella organization for state oil firms, an oil ministry spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.
Parliament voted in March to establish the company, which is meant to manage Iraq’s upstream operations, freeing up the ministry to set plans and strategies for developing the sector.
The decision was voted on unanimously in cabinet last week, spokesman Asim Jihad said. The positions of oil minister and National Oil Company chief are not related, he added.
“The appointment decision was made for many reasons, including the experience Luaibi has,” Jihad said. Luaibi will also remain as oil minister in Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s outgoing government, he said.
Iraqi President Barham Salih named former oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime minister-designate earlier this month and tasked him with forming a new government. It is unclear if Luaibi will remain after that.
“The issue of selection of a new minister is the responsibility of the prime minister-designate. Anything is possible, we will wait and see,” said Jihad.
Luaibi remains a minister until a new government is formed and approved by parliament, he said.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 February 2019
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”