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Glencore bribed NNPC officials for crude lifting contracts under Madueke – ex-staff

A former staff of Swiss-based oil trader Glencore, a company that has been awarded several NNPC crude lifting contracts has confessed that he paid bribes to intermediaries on the understanding that it would be passed on to NNPC officials to influence the government’s crude oil allocation during Alison Diezani Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister.

Anthony Stimler, currently helping U.S. Justice Department investigators into the company and former colleagues, said for a dozen years, he’d paid millions in bribes to African officials and intermediaries according to a Bloomberg report.

“When I made requests for payments to intermediaries, I was aware that other Glencore traders who worked with me were doing the same thing by directing our intermediaries to make bribe payments to government officials,” Stimler told a federal judge in New York, according to a transcript of his guilty plea.

“I intended that a proportion of the payment to intermediaries operating in Nigeria were to be passed on to Nigerian state-owned oil company officials. The purpose of the payment was to influence those officials’ decisions regarding the Nigerian government’s allocations of crude oil cargo.

Most of these fraudulent transactions occurred when Madueke presided as petroleum minister in the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Read also: How NNPC manicured its books to extract N287bn profit

US prosecutors said two associates of the minister set up companies shortly after she took office and were awarded contracts to sell large allotments of oil on global markets.

The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion, according to the prosecutors. Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates.

They say that over the course of 2013 and 2014, Glencore bought 15 cargoes totaling 7 million barrels from the men, paying more than $800 million. Of that, they contend, roughly a third — $272 million — was diverted into an account at a Nigerian bank used for the purchases for Madueke.

According to Bloomberg reports, Stimler’s career with Glencore began in 1998 he rose through the ranks, becoming head of its West African oil trading desk. He presided over a robust expansion of its crude flows and a nearly doubling of his desk’s annual profits to nearly $200 million in 2017, said the report.

In that same year, 2017, prosecutors from the Justice Department’s kleptocracy team filed a case in Houston to seize nearly $145 million worth of assets — including an $80 million, 215-foot yacht called the Galactica Star, a $50 million Billionaire’s Row apartment in New York and homes in California — that it said were purchased for the benefit of Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with embezzled funds.

Stimler has implicated seven others, including at least four Glencore traders, in making bribe payments, and authorities say the scheme started before him.

One person named was a top African oil trader at Glencore dating back to the 1990s, Stimler’s superior during his early rise there, according to people familiar with the matter; another worked with him on the West African oil trading during the latter part of the scheme, the people said.

Following Buhari’s election in 2015, Madueke fled Nigeria and has been living in London. She has been charged with corruption by Nigerian authorities but has so far successfully evaded extradition, and she is under investigation by U.K. authorities as well.

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