Brazil prosecutors charge former Trafigura execs with corruption

By Brad Brooks SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian federal prosecutors on Friday filed corruption charges against two former executives of the oil trader Trafigura for allegedly paying at least $1.5 million in bribes to employees of Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro. Prosecutors said in a written statement that the charges filed against Mariano Marcondes Ferraz, a former Trafigura top executive, and Marcio Pinto Magalhaes, a local country representative, were the first of many to come against the world's largest oil traders. Vitol SA, Glencore Plc and Mercuria Energy Group are also under investigation in Brazil.

Reuters December 15, 2018 00:06:57 IST
Brazil prosecutors charge former Trafigura execs with corruption

Brazil prosecutors charge former Trafigura execs with corruption

By Brad Brooks

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian federal prosecutors on Friday filed corruption charges against two former executives of the oil trader Trafigura for allegedly paying at least $1.5 million in bribes to employees of Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.

Prosecutors said in a written statement that the charges filed against Mariano Marcondes Ferraz, a former Trafigura top executive, and Marcio Pinto Magalhaes, a local country representative, were the first of many to come against the world's largest oil traders.

Vitol SA, Glencore Plc and Mercuria Energy Group are also under investigation in Brazil.

Laywers for Ferraz and Magalhaes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Federal prosecutors allege the European multinationals and some smaller players collectively paid at least $31 million in bribes over a six-year period to employees at Brazil's state-led oil company Petrobras to sell them oil at sweetheart prices.

They said the firms' top brass had "total and unequivocal" knowledge that they were fleecing Petrobras and that the illicit activity may still be going on.

More than 600 pages of legal documents reviewed by Reuters portray what prosecutors describe as a bustling criminal enterprise fueled by creativity, competition and greed.

Authorities say the trading companies often used freelance middlemen in an effort to cover their tracks, allowing these businessmen to negotiate deals and pay off Petrobras collaborators using bank accounts in several countries.

Emails obtained by investigators show intermediaries hustling to profit from their connections, authorities said. Some shared spreadsheets divvying up to the last cent their cut of the spoils from deals they allegedly sealed with crooked Petrobras employees.

Mercuria has denied wrongdoing. Mercuria, Vitol and Glencore said they would cooperate with the Brazilian investigation, while Trafigura said it was reviewing the allegations.

Trafigura, Mercuria and Vitol said they have zero-tolerance policies for bribery and corruption. Glencore said it takes ethics and compliance seriously.

Petrobras said it was cooperating with authorities and viewed itself as a victim of the alleged corruption.

Eleven people had arrest warrants issued against them, including one current employee of Petrobras, whom the oil firm has since fired because of "strong evidence against them that they were involved in irregularities," the company said in a written statement. Eight people in total have been arrested, including four former Petrobras employees.

Interpol alerts have been issued for three other suspects who are outside Brazil. None have been arrested.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Rigby)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.