Two oil traders sentenced in $82m scheme against LyondellBasell

27 April 2012 23:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two oil traders were sentenced to prison for their involvement in a scheme that cost LyondellBasell $82m (€62m), the US Department of Justice said on Friday.

US District Judge Sim Lake sentenced Clyde Meltzer to five years and Bernard Langley to four years, the department said. Lake also ordered the two to pay $57m in restitution.

Earlier this year, former LyondelBasell employee Jonathan Barnes was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The justice department said from January 2007 through January 2010, Barnes agreed to have LyondellBasell’s Houston refinery in Texas pay about $82m above market prices for shipping in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks.

"In exchange for Barnes agreeing to use their companies to transport the oil on tankers from Venezuela to Houston, Langley and Meltzer agreed to pay Barnes one-third of the profits they received," the department said.

Already, the US has seized $25m 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 justice department said.

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

Co-defendant Alireza Etessami of Venezuela was arrested late last year, and he is scheduled for trial on 11 June.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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