Continental Focus, International Reach

Gunvor Ordered to Pay $95 Million in Congo Corruption Suit

Friday, October 18, 2019

Swiss trading outfit Gunvor Group has been ordered to pay $95 million to end the ongoing investigation into corruption charges revolving around oil contracts in the Republic of Congo (ROC).

Switzerland’s Attorney General office levied the fine after the firm admitted a former employee had bribed a ROC official to secure lucrative oil contracts. The bribes were paid starting in 2009 and the investigation began in 2011.

The former Gunvor employee was convicted of bribery in 2018 and was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay 33,000 Swiss francs.

A statement by Swiss prosecutor’s office said, “Warning signs had been ignored and other irregularities had occurred, including authorization being given for a substantial number of payments to third party offshore companies unrelated to oil activities and the backdating of supporting letters to banks.”

In a statement, the company said, “Gunvor maintains that there was absolutely no conscious or desired involvement of employees or members of management in these activities,” adding, “No current employees or businesses of Gunvor Group are involved in any related ongoing litigation or investigations.”