Anthony Stimler, a former employee of Glencore Plc West Africa desk, has exposed Diezani Alison-Madueke, ex-petroleum minister in Nigeria, in a bribery scheme in Nigeria.
According to Bloomberg, Stimler confessed in a cooperation deal at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Bloomberg said since Stimler resigned in August 2019, he has been helping a US justice department investigate Glencore and “numerous” former colleagues as well as confessed to paying millions in bribes to African officials and intermediaries (middlemen).
According to the report, Stimler had spent years involved in this illicit activity as far back as 2007 until he pleaded guilty to foreign bribery and money laundering charges in July.
“When I made requests for payments to intermediaries, I was aware that other Glencore traders who worked with me were doing the same thing by directing our intermediaries to make bribe payments to government officials,” the report quoted Stimler as saying in a transcript of his guilty plea.
“I intended that a proportion of the payment to intermediaries operating in Nigeria were to be passed on to Nigerian state-owned oil company officials.
“The purpose of the payment was to influence those officials’ decisions regarding the Nigerian government’s allocations of crude oil cargo.”
Bloomberg reports that in 2017, “prosecutors from the Justice Department’s kleptocracy team filed a case in Houston to seize nearly $145 million worth of assets — including an $80 million, a 215-foot yacht called the Galactica Star, a $50 million Billionaire’s Row apartment in New York and homes in California — that it said were purchased for the benefit of Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with embezzled funds.
Prosecutors said two associates of the minister set up companies shortly after she took office and were awarded contracts to sell large allotments of oil on global markets.
“The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion,” according to the prosecutors.
“Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates.
“One of the primary trading houses that stepped up to buy those cargoes, according to prosecutors: Glencore.
“They say that over the course of 2013 and 2014, Glencore bought 15 cargoes totalling 7 million barrels from the men, paying more than $800 million. Of that, they contend, roughly a third — $272 million — was diverted into an account at a Nigerian bank used for the purchases for Madueke.”
The report also showed that “a court filing in Stimler’s case makes reference to a ‘Foreign Official 1’ (Diezani), a high-ranking Nigerian from 2010 to 2015, who had demanded and received bribery payments.
“While Stimler began bribing in 2007, often using coded language in emails, the payments appear to have accelerated during Madueke’s time in office,” according to the court documents.
“Stimler agreed in late 2013 to pay more than triple the usual fees to an intermediary company that would be passed on as bribes for favourable grades and loading dates of Nigerian oil, his guilty plea says.
“Three months later, he and a colleague made another $500,000 payment to be eligible for additional Nigerian cargoes.
“Stimler ‘requested and received approval’ for a Glencore subsidiary to make the payment, prosecutors said, without specifying who granted it.
“Later that fall, he received another request, saying Foreign Official 1 was seeking $300,000 per month from customers of Nigeria’s national oil company, in connection with an upcoming election. Stimler authorized the payment, according to prosecutors.
“Madueke left office in 2015 and has been living in London. She has been charged with corruption by Nigerian authorities but has so far successfully evaded extradition, and she is under investigation by U.K. authorities as well.
“Now Glencore and some of its executives face the prospect of steep fines and prison in a far-reaching investigation of tactics in numerous countries and commodity markets.
“U.S. authorities pursue such cases because, though they involve events in other countries, the payoffs were made in dollars that pass through the banking system in New York.”
Glencore Plc, an Anglo-Swiss mining company, had described Stimler’s plea as unacceptable, adding that “the conduct has no place in Glencore.”
In August, Gary Nagle, Glencore’s new chief executive, said the company has adopted new compliance rules intended to eliminate illicit conduct, and that every person mentioned in Stimler’s case has been disciplined or left the firm.
Nagle also mentioned that Glencore no longer works with intermediaries in a move to reduce the company’s business in high-risk jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Stimler is out on bail in the U.K. and awaits sentencing at a later date.