Press release / Dec. 5, 2018

Brazilian authorities investigate Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura of bribery in Carwash scandal - Global Witness response

Today, Brazilian authorities launched a huge investigation into alleged bribery by the world’s largest commodity traders, as part of the country’s mammoth Car Wash scandal. Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura are being investigated of bribing employees of the state oil company and middlemen $5.1m, $6.1m and $4.1m respectively, to secure deals for trading petroleum products and the rental of storage tanks.

“Today’s news should send alarm bells throughout the oil industry. The world’s three biggest commodities traders are being investigated for paying millions in bribes to secure deals with Brazil’s national oil company, in one of the biggest corruption scandals of all time. This comes as no surprise to us,” said Daniel Balint-Kurti, Head of Investigations at Global Witness.

“We’ve repeatedly uncovered how commodities traders engage in murky deals with dubious middle-men. It’s now time for prosecuting authorities in all relevant jurisdictions to get their act together and clean up the oil business.”

Global Witness first raised the alarm last month about the commodity traders’ ties to middlemen in Brazil at the centre of bribery and money-laundering allegations, in its report “Friends in Low Places”.

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