Article: Former Glencore Oil Trader Charged With Manipulation of Fuel Prices

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Former Glencore Oil Trader Charged With Manipulation of Fuel Prices

Dave Michaels, 23 March 2021

WASHINGTON—A former oil trader at mining company Glencore PLC was charged with manipulating fuel oil prices, in a case that echoes claims investigated in Europe seven years ago.

The ex-trader, Emilio Heredia, was charged under a document that prosecutors typically use when a defendant is to plead guilty. He is to be arraigned Tuesday in San Francisco federal court on one count of conspiracy related to trading through a process managed by oil-price benchmark publisher S&P Global Platts. Mr. Heredia directed other traders to submit orders that would push up or down prices, to engineer a move that would improve the profitability of other transactions in physical fuel oil, according to the charging document filed in court last week.

The case targets conduct first revealed by The Wall Street Journal in 2013, in an article that showed traders admitting they could manipulate prices on the Platts system. Platts said at the time that it wasn’t aware of instances in which traders gamed its pricing indexes.

Mr. Heredia plans to enter a plea on Wednesday, according to court records. An attorney for Mr. Heredia didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment. A Glencore spokesman said the company has cooperated with the continuing federal investigation.

In a statement, S&P Global Platts said it maintains a “robust, rigorous and transparent methodology” that allows it “to publish assessments reflective of market value.” The company said any efforts to manipulate its process haven’t been successful.

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