A Connecticut-based executive, Gary Oztemel, has been charged in an international oil and gas trading bribery and money laundering scheme. The charges allege that Oztemel and others paid bribes to officials at Brazil’s state-owned energy company, Petrobras, in order to secure contracts. Court documents state that Oztemel used his companies, Oil Trade & Transport S.A. and Petro Trade Services Inc., to facilitate the scheme and conceal the proceeds. If convicted, Oztemel faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, up to 20 years for money laundering conspiracy, and up to 10 years for each money laundering charge. The FBI is investigating the case, and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section are handling the prosecution.
In a recent development, an executive has been charged in an international oil and gas trading bribery and money laundering scheme. The individual, along with several companies, is accused of engaging in a complex scheme to pay bribes to Brazilian officials in order to secure contracts with Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned energy company. The accused individual and companies allegedly used various tactics, including the breach of confidential information and money laundering, to carry out their illegal activities. If convicted, the executive could face severe penalties and consequences. The announcement of the charges was made by officials, and an investigation and prosecution team has been assigned to the case.
The case revolves around allegations of bribery and money laundering in the international oil and gas trading industry. The accused executive, along with his companies, allegedly engaged in illegal activities to win contracts with Petrobras, a prominent energy company in Brazil. The background of the case includes the involvement of various individuals and the misuse of confidential information to gain an unfair advantage in the industry.
Indictment and Charges
A superseding indictment has been returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Connecticut, charging the Connecticut-based oil and gas trader for his role in the alleged scheme. The indictment includes charges related to the violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), conspiracy to commit money laundering, and multiple counts of money laundering. If convicted, the executive could face significant prison time.
Accused Individual and Companies Involved
The accused individual in this case is Gary Oztemel, the owner and president of Oil Trade & Transport S.A. (OTT) and Petro Trade Services Inc. (Petro Trade), both of which operated in Connecticut. Alongside Gary Oztemel, his brother Glenn Oztemel and Brazil-based intermediary Eduardo Innecco have also been charged in connection with the scheme. These individuals, along with their respective companies, are accused of participating in the illegal activities.
Alleged Scheme Details
According to court documents, the accused individuals and companies bribed Petrobras officials in exchange for help in obtaining and retaining business contracts with the company. The scheme involved the provision of confidential information by a Petrobras official to the accused individuals, giving them an unfair advantage in the oil and gas trading market. The accused individuals also used their company Petro Trade to conceal the proceeds of their illegal activities.
Confidential Information Breach
One of the tactics employed in the alleged scheme was the breach of confidential information. A Petrobras official provided the accused individuals with confidential information regarding the company’s fuel oil business. This breach of trust allowed the accused individuals to manipulate the market and secure contracts with Petrobras.
Money Laundering Tactics
In addition to bribery, the accused individuals utilized money laundering tactics to conceal the proceeds of their illegal activities. Gary Oztemel, through his company Petro Trade, allegedly played a key role in hiding and transferring the illicit funds, making it difficult for authorities to trace the money back to its illegal source.
Penalties and Potential Consequences
If convicted, the accused executive, Gary Oztemel, faces severe penalties and consequences. The charges against him include conspiracy to violate the FCPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and multiple counts of money laundering. The maximum penalties for these charges range from five to twenty years in prison. These penalties aim to deter individuals from engaging in bribery and money laundering schemes and to uphold the integrity of the international trading industry.
Announcement by Officials
The charges against the accused executive and companies involved in the international oil and gas trading bribery and money laundering scheme were announced by officials. Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Avery for the District of Connecticut, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement, highlighting the seriousness of the case and the commitment of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute such crimes.
Investigation and Prosecution Team
To ensure a thorough investigation and prosecution of the case, an investigation and prosecution team has been assigned to the matter. Trial Attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, together with Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry, are leading the prosecution efforts. The FBI is also actively involved in investigating the case. This dedicated team of professionals will work diligently to uncover all relevant evidence and ensure a fair trial for the accused individuals.
In conclusion, the charges against the executive and companies involved in the international oil and gas trading bribery and money laundering scheme mark a significant development in combating financial crimes. The indictment and charges, along with the potential penalties and consequences, demonstrate the commitment of law enforcement to holding individuals accountable for their illegal actions. The investigation and prosecution team will continue to work diligently to bring the case to a just conclusion, upholding the integrity of the international trading industry and deterring others from engaging in similar illegal activities.