Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oil Traders Indicted

The lifeblood of the economy. (HT

Most of us would agree that gas prices are too high. I believe part of the reason is because of bad oil traders and speculators. From Reuters:

"Jonathan Paul Barnes, 55, of Bellaire, Texas; Clyde Meltzer, 64, of Livingston, New Jersey, and Bernard Langley, 53, of the United Kingdom were charged with conspiracy, fraud and money-laundering in an indictment returned December 7, 2010 and partially unsealed Friday, the news release said.

The indictment accuses Barnes of defrauding Houston Refinery LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell, by having it pay $80 million above market prices for shipping of crude oil from Venezuela between 2006 and 2010 in exchange for kickbacks. Barnes was employed at the time by Houston Refinery LP.

Two of the entities that allegedly paid kickbacks, Camac International Ltd and Fossil Energy Resources Ltd, were offshore operations controlled by Meltzer and Langley, the news release said. They funneled kickbacks through a Swiss bank account to conceal their origin, the release added.

All three men face charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit international money-laundering and four counts of money-laundering, the news release said.

In addition, Barnes is charged with passport fraud and bulk cash smuggling.

If convicted, the men could face up to 20 years in prison on each count of fraud and money laundering. If convicted, Barnes could face up to 10 years in prison on the passport fraud charge and five years on the cash smuggling charge."

If oil would follow supply and demand principles, prices would be a lot lower than current levels because of the weak demand. However, the traders and speculators can't lose their shirts, right??

Background Intel:

Reuters: Oil traders indicted in alleged kickback scheme

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