United States: Commodity trader Freepoint faces U.S. bribery probe, sources say

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Connecticut-based trading house Freepoint Commodities over whether payments to employees of Brazil’s state-run oil company broke U.S. laws, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters this week.

The criminal probe, which is being led by prosecutors in Washington, complements a separate, ongoing bribery investigation into the company by authorities in Brazil, said the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

Brazilian prosecutors allege Freepoint bribed employees of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, for a period of roughly seven years ending in 2018. The Justice Department is also probing those alleged payments and whether they may have breached U.S. antibribery law, the sources said. One of the people said the U.S. probe is relatively advanced.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment.

A Freepoint spokesperson wrote in an email that the company “is strongly committed to following the laws everywhere we do business.” The Stamford-headquartered firm declined further comment.

Petrobras said in an email it has “zero tolerance in relation to fraud and corruption” and that employees involved in wrongdoing in its trading unit “were immediately fired for just cause in 2018.” It added that it has aided Brazilian authorities extensively with various corruption-related probes.

The original full article can be found at reuters.com

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