Unaoil, the Monaco company facing investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), has asked for a high-level judicial review of the handling of the case.
Hugo Keith, a lawyer for Unaoil and its top three executives, argued in front of a judge in London that the SFO had misled the authorities in Monaco ahead of a raid on the office and homes in the Principality of Ata Ahsani, Cyrus Ahsani and Saman Ahsani.
In papers filed with the court, Keith said: “Had the true position been conveyed, the request would have looked much less urgent; the contention that there was ongoing illegality would have appeared much less convincing… This was, quite simply, far too broad a formulation and amounted to an impermissible fishing expedition.”
Sixty-five boxes of seized materials were taken to London in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, Keith also said. Unaoil claims that materials taken to the UK included papers that had no connection to Iraq, while the SFO’s request for Monaco’s assistance centred on allegations of bribery in Iraq.