In the latest development of an ongoing investigation, a federal grand jury in the District of Connecticut has charged Gary Oztemel, a Connecticut-based oil and gas trader, in connection with an alleged bribery and money laundering scheme involving Brazilian officials and the state-controlled energy company, Petrobras. Court documents reveal that Oztemel, along with his brother and other parties, allegedly paid bribes to Petrobras officials in order to secure contracts for their trading companies. Further allegations accuse Oztemel of using his company, Petro Trade, to conceal the proceeds of the illegal activities. The charges include conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering. If convicted, Oztemel could face substantial prison sentences. This case serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts by law enforcement to combat corruption in international trade.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the indictment and charges against individuals involved in an international oil and gas trading bribery and money laundering scheme. The article will outline the details of the allegations, the involvement of specific individuals, the scheme details, potential penalties, the announcement and investigation of the case, the prosecution team, FCPA enforcement efforts, the presumption of innocence, related content, and contact information for further inquiries.
Indictment and Charges
A federal grand jury in the District of Connecticut has returned a superseding indictment charging a Connecticut-based oil and gas trader for his role in an alleged scheme to pay bribes to Brazilian officials. The indictment alleges that the trader, Gary Oztemel, was involved in an scheme to win contracts with Brazil’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petrobras.
Superseding Indictment Charges
The superseding indictment charges Gary Oztemel with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.
Details of Allegations
According to court documents, Gary Oztemel, his brother Glenn Oztemel, Brazil-based intermediary Eduardo Innecco, and others allegedly paid bribes to Petrobras officials for their assistance in helping two Connecticut-based trading companies and Oztemel’s company, Petro Trade, obtain and retain business with Petrobras. The allegations also involve a Petrobras official providing the defendants with confidential information regarding Petrobras’ fuel oil business.
Involvement of Gary Oztemel
Gary Oztemel, the owner and president of Oil Trade & Transport S.A. (OTT) and Petro Trade Services Inc., is alleged to have played a central role in the bribery and money laundering scheme. The indictment charges him with conspiracy and multiple counts of money laundering related to his involvement in the scheme.
Original Charges against Glenn Oztemel and Innecco
The original charges against Glenn Oztemel and Eduardo Innecco were previously unsealed on February 15. The superseding indictment expands on these charges and also includes Gary Oztemel as a defendant.
The scheme at the center of the indictment involved the bribery of Petrobras officials, the use of confidential information, and the laundering of money through Petro Trade.
Bribery of Petrobras Officials
The indictment alleges that Gary Oztemel, Glenn Oztemel, Eduardo Innecco, and others paid bribes to Petrobras officials in order to secure contracts and maintain business relationships with Petrobras. These bribes were allegedly used to gain an unfair advantage in the oil and gas trading industry.
As part of the scheme, a Petrobras official provided Gary Oztemel, Glenn Oztemel, Eduardo Innecco, and others with confidential information related to Petrobras’ fuel oil business. This information was used to inform their trading strategies and further their illicit activities.
Use of Petro Trade for Money Laundering
Gary Oztemel allegedly used his company, Petro Trade, to help conceal the proceeds of the bribery scheme. The indictment charges him with multiple counts of money laundering in relation to these activities.
If convicted, Gary Oztemel faces a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy to violate the FCPA charge, a maximum of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy charge, and a maximum of 10 years in prison for the individual money laundering charges.
Announcement and Investigation
The charges and indictment were announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Department of Justice’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.
Announcement by Acting Assistant Attorney General
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri made the announcement of the charges and indictment. This announcement highlights the significance of the case and the commitment of the Department of Justice to combating bribery and money laundering schemes.
Investigation by FBI
The FBI is leading the investigation into the alleged bribery and money laundering scheme. 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 are overseeing the investigation.
The prosecution team for this case includes trial attorneys from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, as well as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from the District of Connecticut.
Trial Attorneys Allison L. McGuire and Clayton P. Solomon from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are part of the prosecution team. They bring their expertise in complex financial crimes to the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry from the District of Connecticut is also part of the prosecution team. McGarry’s experience in prosecuting federal criminal cases will contribute to the effective pursuit of justice in this case.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a significant component of the legal framework addressing bribery of foreign officials by U.S. companies. The Fraud Section of the Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the FCPA.
Responsibility of Fraud Section
The Fraud Section, part of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, is responsible for investigating and prosecuting FCPA matters. This includes cases that involve bribery and corruption in international business transactions.
Information about FCPA Enforcement Efforts
The Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts are detailed on the department’s website at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa. This resource provides valuable information about the scope and impact of FCPA enforcement.
Presumption of Innocence
It is important to remember that an indictment is merely an allegation and does not constitute proof of guilt. The legal principle of presumption of innocence applies to all defendants, including Gary Oztemel. Therefore, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Indictment as Allegation
The superseding indictment lays out the allegations against Gary Oztemel and should be considered as such. The burden falls on the prosecution to present evidence that proves these allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Legal Principle of Presumption of Innocence
The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle in the U.S. legal system. It ensures that individuals are not unfairly stigmatized or punished before they have had the opportunity to defend themselves in court.
This case is part of broader efforts by the Department of Justice to combat fraud and corruption in various industries. The following related content highlights the department’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting financial crimes.
Conviction in Global Investment Fraud Scheme
Recently, four individuals were convicted in a federal court for their lead roles in an investment fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The scheme cheated victims out of $18 million, and the successful prosecution demonstrates the department’s dedication to pursuing justice in financial fraud cases.
Guilty Plea in COVID-19 Fraud Scheme
In a separate case, a California man pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining over $300,000 in COVID-19 pandemic relief funds. This guilty plea represents another step in the department’s crackdown on fraud related to the pandemic and demonstrates its commitment to protecting public funds and resources.
Results of Nationwide COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Action
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco recently announced the results of a nationwide enforcement action targeting COVID-19 fraud. This action highlights the department’s tireless efforts to identify and prosecute individuals and organizations seeking to exploit the pandemic for personal gain.
For further information or media inquiries regarding this case, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice. The main switchboard for the Department of Justice can also provide general information and guidance for those seeking assistance or additional resources.