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Anthony Stimler, Former Glencore Trader, Exposes Diezani

Anthony Stimler

Anthony Stimler, former Glencore trader, exposes Diezani over bribery scheme in Nigeria, Report:

Anthony Stimler, a former employee of Glencore Plc West Africa desk, has exposed Diezani Alison-Madueke, ex-petroleum minister in Nigeria, in a bribery scheme in Nigeria.

According to Bloomberg, Stimler confessed in a cooperation deal at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.

Bloomberg said since Stimler resigned in August 2019, he has been helping a US justice department investigate Glencore and “numerous” former colleagues as well as confessed to paying millions in bribes to African officials and intermediaries (middlemen).

According to the report, Stimler had spent years involved in this illicit activity as far back as 2007 until he pleaded guilty to foreign bribery and money laundering charges in July.

“When I made requests for payments to intermediaries, I was aware that other Glencore traders who worked with me were doing the same thing by directing our intermediaries to make bribe payments to government officials,” the report quoted Stimler as saying in a transcript of his guilty plea.

“I intended that a proportion of the payment to intermediaries operating in Nigeria were to be passed on to Nigerian state-owned oil company officials.

“The purpose of the payment was to influence those officials’ decisions regarding the Nigerian government’s allocations of crude oil cargo.”

Bloomberg reports that in 2017, “prosecutors from the Justice Department’s kleptocracy team filed a case in Houston to seize nearly $145 million worth of assets — including an $80 million, a 215-foot yacht called the Galactica Star, a $50 million Billionaire’s Row apartment in New York and homes in California — that it said were purchased for the benefit of Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with embezzled funds.

Prosecutors said two associates of the minister set up companies shortly after she took office and were awarded contracts to sell large allotments of oil on global markets.

“The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion,” according to the prosecutors.

“Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates.

“One of the primary trading houses that stepped up to buy those cargoes, according to prosecutors: Glencore.

“They say that over the course of 2013 and 2014, Glencore bought 15 cargoes totalling 7 million barrels from the men, paying more than $800 million. Of that, they contend, roughly a third — $272 million — was diverted into an account at a Nigerian bank used for the purchases for Madueke.”

The report also showed that “a court filing in Stimler’s case makes reference to a ‘Foreign Official 1’ (Diezani), a high-ranking Nigerian from 2010 to 2015, who had demanded and received bribery payments.

“While Stimler began bribing in 2007, often using coded language in emails, the payments appear to have accelerated during Madueke’s time in office,” according to the court documents.

“Stimler agreed in late 2013 to pay more than triple the usual fees to an intermediary company that would be passed on as bribes for favourable grades and loading dates of Nigerian oil, his guilty plea says.

“Three months later, he and a colleague made another $500,000 payment to be eligible for additional Nigerian cargoes.

“Stimler ‘requested and received approval’ for a Glencore subsidiary to make the payment, prosecutors said, without specifying who granted it.

“Later that fall, he received another request, saying Foreign Official 1 was seeking $300,000 per month from customers of Nigeria’s national oil company, in connection with an upcoming election. Stimler authorized the payment, according to prosecutors.

“Madueke left office in 2015 and has been living in London. She has been charged with corruption by Nigerian authorities but has so far successfully evaded extradition, and she is under investigation by U.K. authorities as well.

“Now Glencore and some of its executives face the prospect of steep fines and prison in a far-reaching investigation of tactics in numerous countries and commodity markets.

“U.S. authorities pursue such cases because, though they involve events in other countries, the payoffs were made in dollars that pass through the banking system in New York.”

Glencore Plc, an Anglo-Swiss mining company, had described Stimler’s plea as unacceptable, adding that “the conduct has no place in Glencore.”

In August, Gary Nagle, Glencore’s new chief executive, said the company has adopted new compliance rules intended to eliminate illicit conduct, and that every person mentioned in Stimler’s case has been disciplined or left the firm.

Nagle also mentioned that Glencore no longer works with intermediaries in a move to reduce the company’s business in high-risk jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, Stimler is out on bail in the U.K. and awaits sentencing at a later date.

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CBN gives fresh guidelines on dormant accounts, unclaimed balances in banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed all banks and other financial institutions in the country to transfer all dormant accounts and unclaimed balances and other financial assets to its dedicated account.

The apex bank disclosed this on Friday in a guideline on the management of dormant accounts, unclaimed balances signed by its acting director of the Financial Policy and Banking Regulation Department, John Onojah.

According to the circular, all dormant accounts and unclaimed balances with banks for at least ten years will be warehoused in a dedicated account known as the Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund (UBTF) Pool Account”.

Accordingly, CBN said the funds from Dormant Accounts, unclaimed balances may be invested in Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) and other government securities.

However, the new Guideline which is a review of the Guideline issued in October 2015 exempted dormant accounts, and unclaimed balances under litigation and investigation.

“CBN shall treat unclaimed balances (dormant accounts and financial assets) as follows:

“Open and maintain the ‘UBTF Pool Account’; Maintain records of the beneficiaries of the unclaimed balances warehoused in the UBTF Pool Account;

“Invest the funds in Nigerian treasury bills (NTBs) and other securities as may be approved by the ‘Unclaimed Balances Management Committee’;

“Refund the principal and interest (if any) on the invested funds to the beneficiaries not later than ten (10) working days from the date of receipt of the request and where it is imperative to extend the timeline, a notice of extension shall be communicated to the requesting FI stating reasons for the extension,” it said.

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CBN’s decisive actions has strengthen the economy- Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said in Abuja on Friday that its monetary policies and actions have stimulated growth and stability of the nation’s economy.

 

CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, said this during an engagement with Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.

Cardoso said that given the positive indicators, Nigerian were in for better days.

He said: “The spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to 36.89 billion dollars as of July 16, compared with 33.22 billion dollars as at end-Dec 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

“In first quarter 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

According to him, the nation’s external reserves level as at end of June can finance over 11 months of importation of goods and services or 14 months of goods only.

Cardoso said this was significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

He said that the banking sector remained robust and diverse, comprising 26 commercial banks, six merchant banks and four non-interest banks.

“Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalisation expanding by 38.33 per cent from Dec 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence,” he said.

Cardoso said that while CBN was encouraged by these positive trends, it remained vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in the financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability.

He also assured  members of the committee that required measures and strategies had been mapped out to confront emerging challenges.

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures.

“These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 per cent, increasing cash reserve ratios, normalising open market operations as our primary liquidity management tool.

“And adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework,” he said.

Cardoso said in the area of banking supervision, CBN had taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

He said that key measures included intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

“We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans,” he said.

Cardoso said that CBN was in the process of reviewing micro and macro prudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions to withstand tightened conditions, thereeby creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalise deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices,” he said.

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Adetokunbo Abiru, said the purpose of the interaction was to update the committee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the CBN with respect to monetary policy.

 

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Nigeria’s external reserves surge to $35.77bn – CBN

Nigeria’s external reserves increased to $35.77 billion on Thursday up from the $33.09 Billion at the end of 2023.

This is according to Thursday’s data from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the country’s external reserves movement.

The figure represents a $2.68 billion increase in the country’s external reserves in the past six months.

Further data showed that Nigeria’s foreign reserve crossed the $35.05bn on July 8 to the $35.77 mark on Thursday.

Meanwhile, according to the recently released economic outlook by CBN, titled ‘Macroeconomic Outlook: Price Discovery for Economic Stabilisation’, the apex bank had projected a decline in the country’s external reserves in 2024.

The CBN based its assumption on continued payments of outstanding foreign exchange forward obligations, matured foreign exchange swaps, and debt service.

The apex bank, however, said, “the expected improvement in crude oil earnings, together with recent reforms in the foreign exchange market and energy sector, however, would cushion the drop in external reserves.”

The outlook also projected a marginal increase to $19.42 billion from $19.17 billion in 2023 for diaspora remittances.

“The external reserves, which stood at $33.09bn in 2023 could reduce slightly in 2024.

“This is on the assumption of continued payments of outstanding foreign exchange forward obligations, matured foreign exchange swaps, and debt service,” it said.

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