JPMorgan Being Investigated By Brazilian Authorities Over Potential Oil Bribes

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021 - 09:40 PM

Another day, another "cost of doing business" fine likely on its way for one of the big banks. 

J.P. Morgan is being investigated by Brazilian authorities about whether or not the bank "played a role in an alleged bribery and money laundering scheme that dated back to 2011 and involved state-run oil company Petrobras", according to a new exclusive from Reuters

The probe is in preliminary stages, according to the report. 

Authorities are looking at the purchase of 300,000 barrels of Petrobras fuel by the bank in 2011, according to court documents and sources.

The documents included email messages, witness testimony and bank records. Regulators are in the midst of trying to decypher whether or not bribery continued in subsequent years. 

Testimony from a former Petrobras fuel trader named Rodrigo Berkowitz was reviewed by Reuters. The trader makes note two fuel cargoes that were sold to a JPMorgan unit in his testimony. 

The investigation is one piece of a larger look by Brazilian authorities into wrongdoing in the commodity trading space. Authorities are seeking to figure out if JP Morgan secured oil shipments at artificially low prices by sending bribes to employees at Petrobras' trading desk using middlemen. 

Investigations are also ongoing into some of the world's largest commodity traders after years of probes looking into whether or not bribes were offered to win contracts in countries in Latin America. 

No charges have been brought in the ongoing investigation. Petrobras told Reuters it has "zero tolerance in relation to fraud and corruption."

J.P. Morgan, on the other hand, declined to comment.