Author: Nicola Sharp 1 December 2022
An oil and gas consultant has been debarred for three years by The World Bank after engaging in corrupt practices.
Carlos Barberán Diez and his companies AC Oil & Gas and AC Oil & Gas Emirates will not be able to work on projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group.
The punishment was imposed due to his conduct while working on the World Bank’s Petroleum Governance and Management Project in Guyana. The project provides financing to support Guyana’s legal and institutional frameworks and enhance the management of the country’s oil and gas sector.
Diez, a Spanish national, was accused of approaching four consulting companies involved in the oil and gas business and using his position in the project to seek future payments from them. He offered to influence the project’s procurement processes in their favour.
Although no evidence of payments made to Diez was discovered, his conduct was considered to be a corrupt practice under the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations and Anti-Corruption Guidelines.
Under the settlement agreement, Diez has agreed to meet specified integrity compliance conditions as a condition for future release from debarment. The settlement agreement provides for a reduced period of debarment due to Diez’s cooperation with the investigation.
The Guyana government has announced that in 2020 it terminated Diez’s contract to provide consultancy services as a result of his “conflicts of interest and solicitation”. The government’s statement can be seen as an express acknowledgment that there was corruption in its World Bank-funded project.
As a result of his World Bank debarment, Diez is also barred by other banks, including the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.
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