Local media named the man as former Leighton Offshore managing director Russell Waugh.
Police claim his company paid bribes through contractors including Unaoil — a Monaco-based firm which last year had two former senior executives plead guilty to being part of a scheme to bribe foreign government officials in several countries including Azerbaijan, Syria and Iraq.
Investigators believe the payments were used to secure contracts to build oil pipelines worth roughly US$1.5 billion.
“The key targets of the bribery scheme were Iraqi Ministry of Oil officials and government officials within the South Oil Company of Iraq,” Australian Federal Police said in a statement announcing the arrest of a 54-year-old in Brisbane.
They said the investigation, which spanned nine years and involved US and UK authorities, was a “painstaking process” of piecing together a worldwide jigsaw of “alleged corruption”.
Police also announced they had issued two further arrest warrants for men living overseas. Agence France-Presse