Vitol pays US$135 million to resolve US allegations of oil bribes in Latin America

Latin America

NEW YORK: Vitol SA’s US subsidiary entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the US government over two counts of alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a prosecutor told a US judge in Brooklyn on Thursday.

Brazilian police have for years been investigating the wide-ranging ‘Car Wash’ scandal involving the use of bribes to win contracts involving state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras).

In October, police expanded the investigation at Petrobras based in part on secret recordings made by a former executive of Swiss trading firm Vitol SA, according to court documents.

Vitol’s US subsidiary admitted to paying bribes from 2005-14 involving Petrobras. In exchange for the bribes, Vitol obtained information regarding what competitors were bidding for trading Petrobras oil.

A spokeswoman for Vitol said the company did not have an immediate comment. In the past, it has said it has a zero tolerance policy for bribery and corruption.

Petrobras did not return a request for comment.

Brazilian prosecutors announced in late 2018 that they were investigating Petrobras’ oil deals with trading houses, including the world’s biggest oil traders – Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore.

Vitol SA is the world’s largest independent oil trader, trading some 8 million barrels of oil a day.

Leave a Reply