Gunvor Lands Hefty Fine In Ecuador Bribery Case

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Swiss commodity trader Gunvor was ordered on Friday to pay some $662 million (CHF585 million) to US and Swiss authorities in connection with the bribery of public officials in Ecuador.

This content was published on March 2, 2024 - 10:44 3 minutes AFP

Gunvor“has accepted responsibility for the actions of certain of its former representatives and employees” and, under the terms of the agreement with the US authorities, will have to pay a fine of $374,560,071 and forfeit $287,138,444, the company said in a press release.

At the same time, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced that the trader had also reached an out-of-court settlement to pay nearly CHF87 million in connection with the same case.

+ Read more: one in three Swiss companies admits to paying bribes abroad

A Gunvor spokesman told the AFP news agency that this sum was included in the total, as was the amount to be paid to Ecuador, which has yet to be finalised.

The settlement in both the US and Switzerland takes into account the fact that the trader cooperated with the investigation, which contributed to a significant reduction in the fine, as did the company's efforts to strengthen its compliance programme.

“For nearly a decade, Gunvor representatives bribed senior officials at Ecuador's state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, to enter into business transactions with other public entities that ultimately benefited Gunvor. Through this complex bribery scheme, Gunvor obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits,” said Brent S. Wible of the US Department of Justice, quoted in a separate statement.

+ Transparency International: Switzerland can do better on corruption

“As a company, Gunvor made mistakes at the time, for which we are truly sorry and which we are working hard to correct,” said Gunvor Group President Torbjörn Törnqvist.

“Today, Gunvor has an industry-leading compliance programme, which we are committed to continuously improving. Corruption has no place in our company and will never be tolerated,” he said.

Translated from French by DeepL/dos

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