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Vitol Resolves Net $90 Million FCPA Enforcement Action For Conduct In Brazil, Ecuador And Mexico

vitol

Last week the DOJ announced that Vitol Inc., the U.S. affiliate of the Vitol group of companies, which together form one of the largest energy trading companies in the world, agreed to resolve a net $90 million FCPA enforcement action for conduct in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.

As noted in the DOJ release (and as will be explored in a future post) “Vitol has also agreed to disgorge more than $12.7 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in a related matter and to pay the CFTC a penalty of $16 million related to trading activity not covered” by the DOJ enforcement action.

Under the heading “The Brazil Bribery Scheme” this criminal information alleges:

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FCPA Enforcement Actions Regarding Conduct In Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuador.

It is on the smaller side of countries in South America in terms of population and land area. However, it has the third largest oil reserves in South America and thus many companies subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act do business in the country.

This post summarizes FCPA enforcement actions regarding conduct (in whole or in part) in Ecuador.

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Sargeant Marine Cements $16.6 FCPA Resolution With DOJ Regarding Bribery Schemes In Brazil, Venezuela, And Ecuador

Sargeant Marine

Earlier this week, the DOJ announced¬†that Sargeant Marine Inc. (SMI – an asphalt company based in Florida) “pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $16.6 million to resolve foreign bribery charges stemming from conduct by the company and its employees and agents in Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador.”

The total criminal penalty was actually $90 million, but because of SMI’s “inability to pay” the settlement amount was only $16.6 million.

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DOJ Announces Indictment Of Oil Trader In Connection With Alleged Ecuador Bribery Scheme

oil trading

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Javier Aguilar (described as a trader at the U.S. subsidiary of a multinational oil distributor and trading company – “Trading Company) was criminally charged for “his alleged participation in a five-year international bribery and money laundering scheme involving corrupt payments to Ecuadorian officials.” According to this report, Aguilar’s former employer is Vitol Inc. As highlighted in this previous post, Vitol has reportedly been under scrutiny.

Although not mentioned in the indictment, the DOJ releases references an “original complaint” and that the Ecuadorian officials included individuals associated with PetroEcuador (a business organization previously mentioned in FCPA enforcement actions – see here and here).

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DOJ Brings Additional Criminal Charges In Connection With PetroEcuador Bribery Scheme

petroecuador

Similar to how the April 2018 indictment of Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda alleging a bribery scheme involving PetroEcuador officials generally went unnoticed (see here for the prior post), this May 2019 indictment of Armengol Alfonso Cevallas Diaz (an Ecuadorian citizen) and Jose Melquiades Cisneros Alarcon (an Ecuadorian citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.) concerning the same alleged bribery scheme also generally went unnoticed.

The indictment charges Cevallos and Cisneros with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and numerous money laundering offenses.

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