Anthony Stimler, former Glencore trader, pleads guilty over oil bribery scheme in Nigeria

Author:
Mary Ugbodaga

Anthony Stimler, a former UK-based trader for Glencore Plc, has pleaded guilty to participating in an international scheme to bribe officials in Nigeria to win favourable contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

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Stimler admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and commit money laundering at a hearing in Manhattan federal court, New York, on Monday.

According to court papers, prosecutors 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).

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.

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

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has been investigating Glencore’s business dealings in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UK, Switzerland and Brazil are also examining possible corruption cases involving Glencore, and various authorities around the world.

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In a statement issued on Monday, Glencore Plc, an Anglo-Swiss mining company, described Stimler’s plea as unacceptable, adding that “the conduct has no place in Glencore.”

“Glencore has co-operated fully with the department of justice and other authorities in their investigations and continues to do so.”

“Glencore has taken a number of remedial measures in light of what it has learned during the 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.”

In March, Emilio Jose Heredia Collado, former Glencore oil 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.

Collado 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.

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.

Glencore emerged as one of the oil traders selected to lift Nigeria’s crude oil under various contracts, such as the crude oil term deal and the direct sale direct purchase scheme.

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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