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US, UK oil traders admit defrauding LyondellBassell of $80m

October 21/2011

(ICIS) -- Two oil traders have pleaded guilty to defrauding LyondellBassell Industries and its Houston Refinery subsidiary of more than $80m (?58m) in an oil shipping conspiracy, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The department said that oil traders Bernard Langley, 54, of the UK, and Houston, Texas, resident Clyde Meltzer, 65, admitted to conspiracy and wire fraud in a scheme that involved overcharging LyondellBassell and Houston Refinery for crude oil freight costs.

In a case that was brought to the attention of prosecutors by LyondellBassell, federal attorneys had alleged that Langley and Meltzer conspired with a LyondellBassell employee, Jonathan Barnes, to charge above-market shipping rates on the companys crude oil imports from Venezuela. Barnes, who pleaded guilty in March this year, had served as the marine chartering manager for LyondellBassells Houston refinery starting in 2006.

According to the departments charges, beginning in late 2006 Barnes agreed to give chartering contracts to shipping companies that Langley and Meltzer had set up in the British Virgin Islands and elsewhere.

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