Glencore improperly obtained sensitive information about state-owned giant Petroleos Mexicanos and used it to gain an advantage in bunker fuel trading, according to a Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) order issued on Tuesday.
The commodity giant misappropriated non-public information from employees and agents of certain state-owned companies, including Mexico’s, according to the document. Tuesday’s order came as Glencore admitted bribery and market manipulation and said it will pay about $1.5 billion to resolve years-old investigations in the United States, Britain and Brazil.
A Pemex representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Glencore traded bunker fuel generally with end users such as ship owners and had “numerous cargo trades” with Mexico’s state oil company “including those for delivery to and from the Los Angeles market,” the order says. He noted that a senior trader, known as “Trader-1” and based in San Francisco, participated in and oversaw these trades.
The company is the largest among a group that dominates the global trade in oil, fuels, metals and minerals and has been investigated for bribery and corruption, including Vitol, Trafigura and Gunvor. Brokers, most of which are privately owned, have generally operated out of sight of regulators and have been willing to go to countries and make deals that others avoid.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has already barred competitor Vitol from doing new business with Pemex’s oil trading arm and launched his own probe into international commodity traders who are under international investigation for bribery and corruption.
López Obrador has long promised to stamp out corruption in Mexico and especially at Pemex. Last week, Vitol revealed who at Pemex accepted bribes from the commodity trader, AMLO said. He noted that Vitol still has to pay damages to Mexico, and some of the Pemex employees who took bribes had only been with the state-owned driller since 2019 and worked in the company’s international arm.
A representative for the president did not immediately respond to a request for comment.