Swiss company gets painted pavers instead of EUR 30 million worth of copper | Abroad

A commodity trader has fallen victim to a fraudulent deal. Last summer, the Swiss company received three hundred containers full of painted paving stones instead of more than thirty million euros in copper.

Geneva-based Mercuria Energy Group, one of the top five oil traders in the world, last year bought tons of so-called copper blister, an impure form of the metal. The millions in copper would be shipped to China by Turkish supplier Bietsan Bakir. But when the cargoes arrived in China – 6,000 tons of ‘copper’, spread over 300 containers on eight ships – it turned out to be painted bricks.

The bizarre case happened despite security and inspection checks, the BBC writes.

It appears that the buyer was initially loaded into the containers at the port of Istanbul, before being inspected by an inspection company. Seals have been applied to the containers to prevent fraud. But the containers were opened after the inspection and the buyer was replaced with paint-sprayed paving stones, law firm KYB in Istanbul told the media. The fraudsters switched between fake and real container stamps to avoid detection.

When the freight was on its way, Mercuria paid over 30 million euros to the supplier in five installments. The fraud was only discovered when the ships arrived at the Chinese port of Lianyungang later that month.


Mercuria is now seeking redress in Turkish and British courts against copper supplier Bietsan Bakir. The Turkish police have arrested a number of people in connection with the fake copper. “Suspects have been taken into custody who are believed to be involved in various parts of this organized crime against Mercuria,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Turkish police, “the incident has been determined to be the result of organized fraud.” In case of non-delivery, a merchant can make a claim on the insurance policy of a cargo. But Mercuria is also out of luck: the company found that only one in seven contracts the Turkish company used to insure the cargo was genuine. The rest was forged.

Bietsan Bakir did not respond to requests for comment when Reuters news agency reached out. More hearings on the matter are expected this week.

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Swiss company gets painted pavers instead of EUR 30 million worth of copper | Abroad
Source link Swiss company gets painted pavers instead of EUR 30 million worth of copper | Abroad

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