US LyondellBasell to receive $63m restitution from oil transport fraud

12 October 2012 23:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell will receive $63m (€49m) in restitution following the prosecution of three men in an alleged kickback scheme involving oil transport, a company spokesman said on Friday.

After pleading guilty, former employee Jonathan Barnes and oil traders Bernard Langley and Clyde Meltzer were given prison sentences and ordered to return more than $23.7m in forfeited assets to the chemical company, US attorney Ken Magidson said.

“We have now received $34m from a previous settlement involving this case,” said David Harpole, a Lyondell spokesman. “There’s this $24m, and we anticipate another $5m, which is projected in supplement restoration. We will continue to look at other avenues for restitution.”

In 2006, Barnes became marine chartering manager at Lyondell’s Houston Refining, which imports crude oil from Venezuela to Texas, Magidson said.

According to court documents, Barnes authorised the company to use Langley and Meltzer’s international oil trading business for shipping services at above-market rates. In return, the two paid Barnes one-third of profits they received.

“From 2007 through late 2009, when new management at Lyondell discovered the overcharges, Langley and Meltzer used Swiss bank accounts to pay Barnes more than $20m in kickbacks,” Magidson said.

Barnes was sentenced to 84 months in prison and was ordered to pay $82,107,744 in restitution, the US attorney said. Langley and Meltzer will serve 48 and 60 months, respectively, and are liable to pay $57.3m of that restitution amount.

“We appreciate the efforts of the US Attorney’s Office in Houston and the US Postal Inspection Service, both in the investigation and prosecution in this matter,” Harpole said.

By: Tracy Dang
+1 713 525 2653

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