Former LyondellBasell US employee sentenced in $82m scheme

04 January 2012 22:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A former LyondellBasell employee was sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several fraud and money-laundering charges in an $82m (€63m) kickback scheme, the US Attorney's Office said on Wednesday.

The office said from January 2007 through January 2010, former LyondellBasell employee Jonathan Barnes agreed to have the company’s Houston refinery pay about $82m above market prices for shipping in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks.

Already, the US has seized $20m in assets that were purchased with the proceeds from the scheme, the office said. The assets include money from Swiss bank accounts, real estate in the US, a boat, jewellery and more than 15 luxury and classic automobiles ­– including a 1957 Cadillac once owned by Frank Sinatra.

The scheme started in 2007, after Barnes became the marine chartering manager at the Houston refinery, the office said.

Two of Barnes’ co-defendants, Bernard Langley of the UK and Clyde Meltzer of the US,  have already pleaded guilty, and they are scheduled for sentencing on 12 April, the office said.

Langley and Meltzer controlled two of the bank accounts that received the inflated payments, the office said.

Co-defendant Alireza Etessami of Venezuela was recently arrest. Etessami  is scheduled for trial on 6 February.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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