Oil buying and selling corporations with ties to UK named in Brazil’s Automotive Wash corruption scandal | World information

Three world oil buying and selling corporations with robust ties to the UK face being dragged into Brazil’s “Automotive Wash” investigation, after a report raised questions on their connections to businessmen named within the huge corruption scandal.

Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura, which boast mixed annual revenues of greater than half a trillion {dollars}, characteristic in a report by marketing campaign teams World Witness and Public Eye that uncovers hyperlinks to males accused or convicted of involvement within the bribery scandal.

The Automotive Wash controversy has had seismic results in Brazil, shaking the nation’s establishments to the core and resulting in the imprisonment of a president, as properly a few of the nation’s most distinguished enterprise figures.

It concerned executives from the state oil firm, Petrobras, who had been discovered to have pocketed kickbacks on multi-billion-dollar offers organized by intermediaries – with a few of the cash routed to political events.

World Witness has referred to as on the UK’s Critical Fraud Workplace and the US authorities to analyze alleged ties between businessmen named within the Automotive Wash scandal and the three oil buying and selling giants.

The marketing campaign group mentioned its evaluation of court docket paperwork and testimony indicated the corporations had inquiries to reply over their potential hyperlinks to the scandal.

Every of the three corporations mentioned there was no proof to recommend any wrongdoing on their half.

Vitol

The report’s findings relating to the commodity buying and selling home concern funds to 2 males.

One in every of them, a Swedish businessman, Bo Ljungberg, was accused of being a part of a bunch often known as Brasil Commerce and charged with being a member of a legal gang, paying bribes and money-laundering.

A key member of Brasil Commerce was Jorge Luz, who was sentenced in October 2017 to 13 years and eight months in jail for his half in orchestrating bribes value $20m.

Nicknamed the “Deacon of Bribes” by the Brazilian media, Luz testified in a police deposition that Ljungberg was additionally a part of the group. Ljungberg is but to enter a plea however has denied involvement.

Whereas Vitol was not concerned in that case, it has acknowledged it paid Ljungberg to behave as an “agent”, tasked with figuring out oil offers, however mentioned its relationship with him was “compliant with all related laws”.

Vitol additionally did enterprise with a person referred to as Nelson Ribeiro, by way of its half-owned UK subsidiary Cockett Marine, which paid the Brazilian $8.2m.

Ribeiro is underneath investigation individually for allegedly funnelling $5.7m of bribe cash from the Brazilian engineering agency Odebrecht to the Petrobras govt Paulo Costa. Costa was jailed for 12 years for accepting tens of tens of millions of {dollars} in bribes, a few of which he saved stashed in hole furnishings.

Court docket paperwork present that between February 2009 and November 2012, Cockett Marine paid $8.2m to 2 offshore corporations owned by Ribeiro, $1.3m of it being transferred after Vitol purchased its 50% stake.

Federal police wrote: “The switch of assets of a big firm that maintains billion-dollar contracts with Petrobras on to offshore accounts belonging to knowledgeable cash launderer appears unusual.”

Vitol mentioned Cockett Marine’s preparations with Ribeiro’s corporations pre-dated its buy of a stake within the agency, including that its chief monetary officer terminated the association in November 2012. Vitol denied any impropriety, saying Cockett Marine had co-operated with Brazilian authorities and no costs had been introduced in opposition to it.

Contacted by World Witness, Ribeiro mentioned the investigation would present that his involvement was “non-existent”.

Glencore

Vitol’s largest rival, Glencore, is headquartered in Switzerland however arranges world oil offers by way of its workplace in London’s Mayfair.

Additionally it is named within the World Witness report over hyperlinks to Brasil Commerce by one among its alleged members, Luiz Andrade.

Andrade has been charged with receiving 1000’s of {dollars} from Jorge Luz, after which passing cash on to a senior Petrobras official. He has but to enter a plea.

Paperwork gathered by police and dated December 2010 recommend that Andrade and fellow alleged members of Brasil Commerce mentioned doing enterprise with Glencore.

The corporate mentioned an inner evaluation had discovered that it had an “settlement” with Andrade, associated to the “buy of a gasoline oil cargo from Petrobras Worldwide Finance Co in 2011.”

Glencore additionally labored with a delivery firm whose proprietor is underneath investigation by Automotive Wash prosecutors.

Between 2010 and 2014, Glencore’s UK subsidiary Ocean Join Marine (OCM) made not less than 121 funds value $2.1m to Seaview Delivery, additionally UK-registered.

Seaview is owned by Konstantinos Kotronakis and his son Georgios, a UK resident with an house in in one among London’s most glamorous developments.

Konstantinos Kotronakis has been underneath investigation since 2017 for allegedly operating a bribery scheme involving the passing of inside data obtained from Petrobras executives to 5 delivery corporations, serving to them win contracts value a mixed $900m.

Georgios Kotronakis visited Petrobras in February 2011, in response to guestbook information, representing Ocean Join Marine.

Automotive Wash prosecutors claimed the “likelihood was excessive” that funds from Ocean Join Marine had been used “to deprave Paulo Roberto Costa” and different Petrobras officers.

A authorized consultant of the Kotronakises mentioned neither man had been charged and that Georgios was “not the main target of any investigation”.

Glencore mentioned there was no proof that it or OCM had paid bribes, including that Seaview was a “bona fide” ship broking firm.

It mentioned there was no “credible proof” to recommend that any Glencore-related entity made corrupt funds.

Trafigura

A 3rd firm with robust ties to London, Trafigura is probably greatest recognized for its function in a 2006 scandal when greater than half one million litres of poisonous waste was dumped within the Ivory Coast.

Trafigura has additionally been linked to the Automotive Wash investigation by new data.

Paperwork offered to court docket point out that Jorge Luz mentioned with Petrobas govt Paulo Costa a “proposal from Trafigura”, underneath which it could mortgage Petrobras cash in change for discounted oil.

Petrobras executives rejected the plan in response to the identical doc.

However when World Witness submitted freedom of knowledge requests asking for particulars of the alleged proposal, the corporate refused, saying it couldn’t hand over paperwork as a result of Trafigura was the topic of an investigation by federal police.

Trafigura advised World Witness the proposal didn’t lead to any settlement and that Jorge Luz was not retained to foyer for them.

They added that the World Witness report was a “recycling of ambiguous commentary and conjecture” and included “no substantiated proof of any fallacious doing by Trafigura”.

The corporate declined to say whether or not it was underneath investigation in Brazil.

The pinnacle of the Automotive Wash process drive, Deltan Dallagnol, mentioned the potential involvement of Trafigura and Glencore had been “two traces of investigation that we’re nonetheless growing”.

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