"A former Angolan official is accused of having accepted, between April 2009 and October 2011, bribes of more than 4.3 million euros and 604 thousand dollars, from the Trafigura group, related to his activities in the oil industry in Angola ", reads the indictment, published on the Swiss PG website, which does not mention the names of those involved.
In addition to this accusation, "a former intermediary and a former senior administrator of the Trafigura Group are accused of being involved in this corruption scheme", the note also reads, which reports an accusation against Trafigura BEHHER BV for failing to take measures to stop these payments.
"For the first time, the Federal Criminal Court is called upon to judge the criminal liability of a company for bribery of foreign public officials", the note also highlights.
In explaining the accusation, the PG states that it opened an investigation against unknown parties in July 2020 due to suspicions of corruption by foreign authorities and money laundering related to potential corrupt payments to people with public responsibilities in Angola, but explains that it ended up leaving drop the money laundering charge.
"In August 2021, the investigation was expanded to include the first defendant, the former chief executive officer and executive member of Sonangol Distribuidora, a subsidiary of the Angolan oil company Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola). Sonangol), due to suspicions of corruption by foreign authorities", the note reads.
Then, between January and March 2023, "the criminal investigation was again expanded to include the second defendant, a former intermediary of the Trafigura group in Angola, and the third defendant, the former executive director of operations [Chief Operating Officer, in the original in English] and member of the board of directors of Trafigura BEHEER, both on suspicion of corruption by foreign authorities, as well as Trafigura BEHEER on suspicion of corruption by foreign authorities".
In the indictment, Swiss judicial authorities say that the corruption scheme involving Trafigura in Angola may have benefited the Swiss company by 143.7 million dollars, as it unduly won freight and ship supply contracts between June 2009 and July 2010.
During the period covered by the accusation, the president of Sonangol was Manuel Vicente, and the executive director of operations at Trafigura was Mike Wainwright.
"In return for the undue advantages, the Angolan public official will have favored the interests of the Trafigura Group, allowing the development of freight and ship supply activities between the Trafigura Group and Sonangol Distribuidora, namely the celebration, between June 2009 and July 2010, of eight ship freight contracts and one ship supply contract", the indictment reads.
According to the arguments of the Swiss authorities, "the first defendant [former CEO of Sonangol Distribuidora] accepted, between April 2009 and October 2011, in his capacity as an Angolan public servant, undue advantages from the Trafigura Group in the form of transfers bank payments totaling 4,346,176.60 euros made to a bank account in Geneva, cash payments totaling 604 thousand dollars - in Angola, and payment of hotel and meal expenses totaling 797.25 Swiss francs related to a stay in Geneva", which constitutes, the prosecution argues, a "passive bribery of foreign public officials".
The second defendant, "acting through an offshore company as an intermediary for the Trafigura Group, of which he is a former employee, granted, between August 2009 and October 2011, part of the undue advantages referred to above to the Angolan public servant, in the form of bank transfers in the total amount of 3,991,315 euros to a bank account in Geneva and cash payments in the total amount of 604 thousand dollars in Angola", which constitutes "an active bribery of foreign public officials".
Finally, the accusation now made public says that the third defendant, a senior member of the Trafigura group, in addition to granting the aforementioned advantages, also "granted these undue advantages by omission, when he held a position as guarantor in the Trafigura Group", which "constitutes active bribery of foreign public officials."