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Mexico's State-Run Oil Trader Bans New Business With Trafigura

The commercial arm of the state-run oil giant in the world's fourth-largest oil products importer has banned any new business with global commodity trader Trafigura AG, according to documents seen by Reuters, as the investigations surrounding the global oil trader's role in alleged corruption continues.

The commercial arm of Mexico's state-run oil giant, Pemex, has temporarily banned all new business with Trafigura.

It follows crude oil trader PMI Comercio International's similar action earlier this month, canceling new business interactions until further notice.

All other divisions within Pemex continue to do business with Trafigura.

And it's not just Trafigura that is in the hot seat.

Over the past two years, some of the world's largest oil traders have become the envy of many smaller traders for managing to pull some outlandish profits amid one of the worst oil crises in history. These traders, including Big Oil companies and independent traders, have been doing a rip-roaring business ostensibly by following Warren Buffett's mantra of being greedy when others are fearful and having access to esoteric resources such as giant underground storage caverns.

But those profits came at a price. Some of those large traders gained the upper hand through underhanded deals. Vitol Group, the world's largest oil trading firm, agreed in December to pay a shockingly small fine and disgorgement of $164 million to the DOJ and CFTC for oil bribes in Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador. Vitol has also been saddled with penalties by the CFTC for attempting to manipulate two S&P Global Platts physical oil benchmarks.

Meanwhile, Trafigura is facing a lawsuit in Brazil that seeks damages from the company and its former executives on corruption allegations involving Petrobras. The lawsuit is seeking to freeze $187 million of the defendants' assets.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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