Glencore to Pay $341 Million Fine Over US Fuel Oil Price Manipulation

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday May 25, 2022

Global commodity trading firm Glencore is set to pay a $341 million fine over attempted manipulation of benchmark US fuel oil price assessments in the 2010s.

As a result of a plea agreement, Glencore has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in commodity price manipulation, the US Department of Justice said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. The firm has agreed to a criminal fine of about $341 million and to pay forfeiture of $144 million, as well as to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years.

Glencore employees conspired to manipulate the Houston and Los Angeles 380 CST fuel oil price assessments published by S&P Global Platts between January 2011 and August 2019, according to the Department of Justice. The aim was to artificially push the spot price assessments up or down to the advantage of Glencore's term contract deals.

Former Glencore senior fuel oil trader Emilio Jose Heredia Collado pleaded guilty to commodity price manipulation related to the Los Angeles fuel oil price assessment in March 2021. Heredia's sentencing is scheduled for June 17.

Platts -- now operating under the name S&P Global Commodity Insights -- has said in the past that there was no evidence that the attempted manipulation was successful, or that its assessments did not reflect market value.

In a separate case reported in the same Department of Justice statement, Glencore has also pleaded guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relating to the payment of bribes to foreign officials across multiple countries. The company has agreed to pay a fine of $428 million and criminal forfeiture and disgorgement of $272 million.