Article: The Vitol Enforcement Action: Part 1 – Market Manipulation Through Corruption

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The Vitol Enforcement Action: Part 1 – Market Manipulation Through Corruption

Thomas Fox, 07 December 2020

Last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a multi-part enforcement action, partly involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), with Vitol Inc. (Vitol), the US subsidiary of Vitol Holding II SA. Vitol agreed to pay a combined $135 million to resolve matters.

Interestingly, also included in the overall settlement was a disgorgement of more than $12.7 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in a related matter and a penalty payment to the CFTC of $16 million related to trading activity. The FCPA component was settled via a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and Criminal Information (Information).

In a DOJ Press Release, Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said, “Over a period of 15 years, Vitol paid millions of dollars in bribes to numerous public officials – in three separate countries – to obtain improper competitive advantages that resulted in significant illicit profits for the company. Today’s coordinated resolution with Brazil, along with our first coordinated FCPA resolution with the CFTC, underscores the department’s resolve to hold companies accountable for their crimes while, at the same time, avoiding unnecessarily duplicative penalties.”

Acting US Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York added, “Vitol paid bribes to government officials in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico to win lucrative business contracts and obtain competitive advantages to which they were not fairly entitled. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York will continue to hold accountable companies and individuals that attempt to defy U.S. law to the detriment of honest competitors.”

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