Two oil traders from U.S., U.K. plead guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy in scheme where traders overcharged, defrauded LyondellBasell of more than US$80M

LOS ANGELES , October 24, 2011 () – U.K.’s Bernard Langley and Houston, Texas, resident Clyde Meltzer have admitted to wire fraud and conspiracy in a defrauding scheme where they overcharged LyondellBasell Industries and its subsidiary Houston refinery more than US$80 million. The scheme involved charging LyondellBasell prices at higher-than-market rates for crude oil shipments from Venezuela, ICIS news reported Oct. 20.

Federal attorneys alleged that the traders conspired with former LyondellBasell marine chartering manager Jonathan Barnes, who gave contracts to the pair’s respective shipping companies.

Barnes pleaded guilty this March.

Although real estate, jewelry, luxury automobiles, and bank accounts, among other assets, have already been confiscated from the three men, Langley and Meltzer are still liable to repay the company up to $57 million, according to the article.

Langley and Meltzer are each facing up to 20 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Their hearing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2012.

The primary source of this article is ICIS news, Surrey, England, on Oct. 20, 2011.

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