Glencore, world’s biggest oil trader faces money laundering investigation for Nigerian deal - BUSINESSDAY
by ISAAC ANYAOGU
Swiss-based Glencore which has featured consistently on Nigeria’s crude-term lifting contracts for over a decade is being investigated in the United States for possible corruption and money laundering for its activities in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.
The world’s biggest commodity trader admitted Tuesday that it has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice to produce documents with respect to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and United States money laundering statutes sending its shares to a two year low of11 percent according to Bloomberg data.
“Glencore Ltd, a subsidiary of Glencore plc, has received a subpoena dated 2 July, 2018 from the US Department of Justice to produce documents and other records with respect to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and United States money laundering statutes. The requested documents relate to the Glencore Group’s business in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela from 2007 to present,” the company said in a release.
It further said that it is reviewing the subpoena and will provide further information in due course as appropriate.
Last year, the company was named in US court processes that suggested involvement in paying bribes to fund Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Petroleum Minister’s luxury lifestyles in exchange for lucrative oil deals.
Court documents filed in Houston by the US Justice Department in the assets forfeiture proceedings against former Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her business cronies, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, revealed that Glencore, along with other companies Taleveras and Arcadia paid $1.2 billion into Kola Aluko’s account in Switzerland, proceeds from crude oil lifted from Aluko and Omokore’s company.
Notwithstanding, Glencore has consistently featured on NNPC’s crude term lifting contracts including the list for the current year, which the corruption later disowned.
“We will ensure transparency and fairness in the process. There is nothing that is hidden just as you have seen today”, Maikanti Baru stated during the bid opening which was beamed live to televisions screens around the country.
But even the NNPC’s crude lifting operation is fraught with allegations of corruption. NNPC sells crude oil on behalf of the Nigerian government holds stakes in various oil leases on behalf of the government but is often accused of not remitting the full value of oil and gas sales to the Federation Account.
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI) in its 2015 audit report said the NNPC failed to remit a total of $16.8billion it earned as dividend for its 49 percent stake in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) to the Federation Accounts in sixteen years.
In Congo DRC, Glencore partnered with Dan Gertler, whom the US Treasury department designated a sanctioned individual for his alleged corrupt practices in mining deals in the country. Glencore is using him as front to operate mining leases in the country described in the paradise papers as enmeshed in corruption.
“Companies profiting from minerals in Congo, like Glencore, must commit to supporting clean and transparent supply chains and take responsibility for any corruption risks involved in the deals they make,” says Global Witness, a human rights advocacy group.
Glencore, along with other oil traders are accused of funnelling bribes to corrupt company officials in exchange for rigged oil purchase and sale contracts in Venezuela.