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Ex-Glencore executive pleads guilty in New York over oil bribery scandal in Nigeria

Anthony Stimler, a former Glencore employee has reached a plea deal with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), accepting involvement in the payment of bribes in order to win contracts in Africa’s biggest oil-producing country.

Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading company with headquarters in Switzerland, is one of the oil traders that have been lifting Nigeria’s crude oil under various contracts since 2017.

Prosecutors at a Manhattan federal court, New York court on Monday said millions of dollars in bribes were paid to Nigerian officials, in exchange for NNPC awarding contracts and more lucrative grades of oil on more “favourable delivery terms” to the company (Glencore).

Anthony Stimler pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering.

Read also: Oil gains as markets tighten on robust global demand

The executive paid bribes “to foreign officials in multiple countries, including Nigeria, on behalf of a commodity trading and mining company with global operations”.

Stimler, a former employee of Glencore’s West Africa desk, was permitted to remain free in the UK on $500,000 bail.

The trader went on to say it had taken a number of remedial measures as a result of the investigation. It has enhanced its ethics and compliance programme in recent years, it reported.

Stimler joined Glencore in 1999 and left in August 2019. Bloomberg, citing court documents, said Stimler paid bribes between 2007 and 2018.

Court papers also identified seven alleged co-conspirators from several countries in the bribery scheme, including UK, Nigeria, Mexico, Spain and Israel in a deal that ran from 2007 to 2018.

Glencore received a subpoena from the US DoJ in 2018, looking at potential FCPA and money laundering issues in Nigeria Congo Kinshasa and Venezuela.

Reuters at the time suggested the US was interested in links between Glencore and Nigeria’s Atlantic Energy.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is also looking at Glencore’s activities. Specifically, around “corrupt practices in connection with commodities trading”.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Brazil and Switzerland are also looking into various bribery allegations at the company.

Glencore has taken a number of legal hits recently. In March, a trader for the company was charged with conspiracy to manipulate fuel oil prices. This week, another legal filing reported Glencore had agreed to pay $9.85 million to settle allegations around price manipulation of zinc.

Recall in November 2017, NNPC sought buyers from oil traders willing to pay $3.5 to $5 billion and get its value in crude oil between five and seven years. Seven companies, including Glencore, contended for the deal.

In 2018, NNPC acknowledged receipt of $94.279 million, about N28.85 billion, for a total of 1.9 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil.

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