Ver Angola


Trafigura executive director rejects accusations. Company says it has improved practices

The executive director of Trafigura rejected the accusations of corruption made by the Swiss courts, which involve Angola, and the company guaranteed this Wednesday that it had taken measures to prevent these practices, for which it is also being investigated in the USA and Brazil.

: Jeremy Weir, presidente executivo e CEO da Trafigura
Jeremy Weir, presidente executivo e CEO da Trafigura  

Trafigura was thus reacting to the decision of the Swiss Attorney General's Office (PG) to take a former Angolan politician and two former directors of the multinational raw materials trading giant to court, highlighting that it has, for years, been trying to resolve problems related to payments made to intermediaries and which resulted in proceedings by Brazilian, Swiss and North American authorities.

In a statement sent to Lusa, Trafigura highlights that the investigations result, in part, from statements made by its former employee Mariano Marcondes Ferraz, as part of a legal agreement after being convicted in Brazil.

In Brazil, the multinational remains involved in a civil case.

It also adds that it intends to resolve, soon, the process opened by the North American Department of Justice regarding undue payments made in Brazil, having already set up a provision of 127 million dollars to resolve this case.

As far as Switzerland is concerned, despite the desire of Trafigura (Trafigura BEHHER BV) to resolve the case through extra-judicial means, it will actually be taken to court.

According to the indictment published on the Swiss PG website, "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 [559.5 thousand euros], from the Trafigura group, related to its activities in the oil industry in Angola".

The case also involves former Trafigura executive director Mike Wainwright and a former consultant from the DT Group (a joint venture in which the Swiss company held a stake).

Quoted in the statement, Trafigura's executive chairman and CEO, Jeremy Weir, lamented the "incidents" that "violated Trafigura's code of conduct" and underlines the efforts made to "instill a culture of responsible conduct" in the company.

He also highlights that, since this period (more than ten years ago), Trafigura has implemented compliance improvement programs, including mandatory training for all employees and a ban on the use of intermediaries to do business.

"These historical incidents do not in any way represent the company we are today", it also states in the document sent to Lusa, adding that the compliance policies and procedures were externally audited, considering that they meet legal requirements and international good standards practices.

In explaining the accusation, the PG states that it opened an investigation against unknown persons 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 (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 to which the accusation refers, the president of Sonangol was Manuel Vicente.


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