Corruption has a new enforcement agency. The CFTC announced in March 2019 that it would start enforcing the FCPA, and it effectively delivered with a $95m enforcement against Vitol, the Swiss energy firm, for bribes paid in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.
“The misuse of nonpublic information provided the CFTC with a hook in the Vitol case. In the CFTC’s order, the firm was accused of bribing officials at Brazil’s national oil company, Petróleo Brasileiro SA (https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/PBR), to get inside information that included weekly reports on production volume and anticipated imports.”
Basically, Vitol bribed Petrobras for confidential information in the company’s business auction. It then used this ‘golden number’ to manipulate the fuel-oil benchmarks from S&P to make the competitors’ bids less valuable.
As usual, Vitol “neither admitted to nor denied the CFTC’s market manipulation findings in its settlement”…