HOUSTON (AP) — A former oil trader at Vitol has been accused of running a bribery scheme from Houston, according to prosecutors. The trader, who was identified as Anthony Stimler, allegedly paid bribes to officials in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico to secure oil trading deals.
Court documents reveal that Stimler used intermediaries to funnel over $8 million in bribes to government officials. The bribes were disguised as payments for consulting services or charitable donations. The scheme reportedly lasted from 2015 to 2020.
Prosecutors claim that Stimler’s actions violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign officials. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Vitol, one of the world’s largest commodity traders, has not been charged in the case.
The allegations against Stimler came to light during an unrelated investigation into corruption in the global oil industry. Authorities seized Stimler’s computer, which contained emails and other evidence of the bribery scheme. The investigation is ongoing, and more charges may be filed.
Vitol has been under scrutiny in recent years for its involvement in corruption scandals. In 2019, the company reached a $160 million settlement with Brazilian authorities over allegations of bribery. The company also paid $135 million in 2020 to settle a corruption probe in the United States.
The case against Stimler is a reminder of the ongoing corruption risks in the oil industry. Despite efforts to combat bribery and corruption, incidents like these continue to undermine the integrity of the global oil trade.
In summary, a former oil trader at Vitol has been accused of running a bribery scheme from Houston. Prosecutors allege that he paid bribes to officials in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico to secure oil trading deals. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Vitol, the company he worked for, has not been charged in the case. This case highlights the ongoing corruption risks in the oil industry.