Two Fuel Oil Traders Charged With Bribing Petrobras Officials


Published Feb 20, 2023 8:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

Two more oil traders have been charged with bribery in connection with corruption at Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Federal prosecutors have charged Glenn Oztemel, 64 and Eduardo Innecco, 73, of allegedly paying bribes to Petrobras employees in order to help their companies win business. Oztemel and unnamed co-conspirators sent Innecco consulting fees for his work on behalf of Oztemel's company; DOJ alleges that Innecco paid a part of these funds to Petrobras officials as bribes in order to get insider information on Petrobras' fuel oil trading activities.

In order to keep the arrangement quiet, Oztemel, Innecco and their co-conspirators allegedly used code words, encrypted messaging apps and false names, according to DOJ. The activity allegedly continued up until 2018 - four years after Brazilian and American prosecutors began scrutinizing patterns of corruption at Petrobras.

Oztemel and Innecco face multiple charges: three counts of violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), two counts of money laundering, conspiracy to violate the FCPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The maximum penalties are five years each for the FCPA charges and 20 years each for the money laundering charges. 

Petrobras, the dominant player in Brazil's offshore oil sector, has admitted to high-level problems with corruption in the past. In 2018, it agreed to an $850 million criminal settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and admitted that its top executives made millions of dollars in corrupt payments to Brazilian politicians. Petrobras also admitted to improper bookkeeping and to failing to set up internal financial controls. The Brazilian investigation into corruption at Petrobras was the largest in the nation's history, resulting in over 400 indictments and over 150 suspects convicted - including former (and current) Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

Parallel lines of inquiry have revealed alleged patterns of corruption in Petrobras' oil trading division and its tanker chartering department