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Enforcement Action Dataset


Initiation Date:    03/01/2024  Information

Prosecuting Agency:    U.S. Department of Justice

Type of Action:    DOJ Criminal Proceeding

Docket or Case Number:    24-cr-00085

Court:    E.D. New York

Name of Prosecuting Attorneys:   

  • Breon Peace, United States Attorney
  • Glenn S. Leon, Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Margaret Moeser, Acting Chief, Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Section, Criminal Division
  • Clayton P. Solomon, Trial Attorney, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Derek J. Ettinger, Assistant Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Jonathan P. Robell, Assistant Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Jonathan P. Lax, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Nick M. Axelrod, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Adam Schwartz, Deputy Chief, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division
  • D. Hunter Smith, Trial Attorney, Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Section, Criminal Division

US Assisting Agencies:    Unknown

Foreign Enforcement Action/Investigation:   

  • Swiss Office of the Attorney General (Foreign Enforcement Action)

Foreign Assistance:   

  • Cayman Islands Law Enforcement Agency (KY)
  • Colombian Law Enforcement Agency (CO)
  • Ecuadoran Law Enforcement Agency (EC)
  • Panamanian Law Enforcement Agency (PA)
  • Singaporean Law Enforcement Agency (SG)
  • Swiss Law Enforcement Agency (CH)

Origin of the Proceeding:    Unknown

Whistleblower:    Unknown

Case Status:    Resolved

Summary  Information

Gunvor S.A. was a Swiss-based energy trading company with affiliates and subsidiaries around the world, including trading offices in the United States, Singapore, and the Bahamas. Gunvor was a subsidiary of Gunvor Group Ltd., a multinational energy commodities trading company registered in Cyprus.

Gunvor Singapore PTE Ltd. and Gunvor (Bahamas) Ltd. were companies subsidiaries of Gunvor Group Ltd. that were affiliated with Gunvor.

According to the documents in this case, between 2012 and 2020, Gunvor conspired with others to pay more than $97 million to intermediaries knowing that some of the money would be used to bribe Ecuadorian officials, including Nilsen Arias Sandoval, a then high-ranking official at Petroecuador, Ecuador's state-owned oil company. The bribe payments were routed through banks in the United States using shell companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands controlled by Gunvor’s co-conspirators. Additionally, some of the money was used to purchase an 18-karat gold Patek Philippe watch for Arias. In exchange for these payments, the Ecuadorian officials helped Gunvor win the rights to a series of oil-backed loan contracts with Petroecuador. This allowed Gunvor and its co-conspirators to avoid a competitive bidding process and to obtain contractual terms that it could not have obtained otherwise. In all, Gunvor earned more than $384 million in profits from the Petroecuador contracts.

On March 1, 2024, the DOJ filed a single count information in the Eastern District of New York against Gunvor alleging a conspiracy to violate the antibribery provisions of the FCPA. Though technically signed in December 2023, Gunvor's plea agreement was filed on the same date as the information. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Gunvor agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $374,560,071, which represented a 25 percent discount off the 30th percentile of the sentencing guidelines range, and forfeiture of $287,138,444. The DOJ agreed to credit half of the criminal penalty for fines paid to Swiss and Ecuadorian officials in parallel enforcement actions in those countries. Gunvor further agreed to report on the status of its enhanced anticorruption compliance for a term of three years. The DOJ noted Gunvor's cooperation but did not give the company credit for voluntary disclosure.

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