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Former Glencore trader pleads guilty in Nigeria oil-bribe scheme

The plea is just the latest legal setback for Glencore, already embroiled in a wide-ranging probe by the US department of justice on allegations of bribery and money laundering

A FORMER UK-based oil trader at Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company, Glencore, pleaded guilty in the US to participating in an international scheme to bribe officials in Nigeria to win favourable treatment from the state-owned oil company.

Anthony Stimler entered the plea during a video hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday. Glencore confirmed that Stimler is a former employee at its oil business.

‘The conduct described in the plea is unacceptable and has no place in Glencore,’ the company said in a statement. ‘Glencore has co-operated fully with the department of justice and other authorities in their investigations and continues to do so.’  The plea is just the latest legal setback for Glencore, already embroiled in a wide-ranging probe by the US department of justice on allegations of bribery and money laundering. The UK, Switzerland and Brazil are also investigating the company.

Authorities around the world are policing commodities trading and the companies that dominate it, while making a renewed push against market manipulation.

Charles Watenphul, a spokesperson for Glencore, declined to say whether additional current or former employees could face additional charges.

Glencore said on Monday that it has taken ‘remedial measures’ based on what it has learnt from the government’s investigation. “Glencore has significantly enhanced its ethics and compliance programme over the last few years with a view to developing a best in-class programme,’ the company said.

Stimler has admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit money laundering.

‘In Nigeria, in exchange for the bribes, foreign officials caused the Nigerian state-owned and state-controlled oil company to award oil contracts and to provide more lucrative grades of oil on more favourable delivery terms’ to the company, according to the charges.

Stimler joined Glencore from a family-run petrochemical conversion business in 1999, according to an online biography. He left in 2019 after the head of the oil division retired.

The charges against Stimler refer to seven co-conspirators, including citizens of the UK, Nigeria, Mexico, Spain and Israel. Prosecutors did not identify those people. Stimler was permitted to remain free in the UK on $500,000 bail, according to a Bloomberg report.

Switzerland-based Glencore in July 2018 disclosed that a subsidiary had received a subpoena in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money-laundering investigation involving the company’s business in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela from 2007 to 2018.

Four months ago, a former Glencore trader pleaded guilty to manipulating an oil price benchmark, allowing the world’s largest commodities trader to profit from the price swings and enriching himself. Emilio Heredia admitted during a hearing in San Francisco to a conspiracy in which he directed buy and sell orders that pushed fuel oil prices up and down.

 

Source
Bob Van Voris and Christian Berthelsen/Bloomberg

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