Biggest fraud ever! Swiss received painted stone instead of copper from turkey.
This seems to be a world-class fraud since last year. A Swiss giant company ordered copper from a Turkish entrepreneur for more than 36 million dollars (approximately 1,100 million baht), expecting good quality raw materials. However, when the product arrived, it turned out that it was painted stone instead. It was a huge shock to the giant company.
In the case, Mercuria Energy Group Limited, a Swiss-based group of global energy and commodities companies, claimed that “They are the victims of product fraud. Some 6,000 tons of blister copper in more than 300 containers have been transformed into a rugged paving stone that has been spray-painted to resemble semi-pure copper before departing from a port near Istanbul, Turkey, where it was headed to China.”
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The case took place last June 2020 that Mercuria ordered the copper from Bietsan, a Turkish entrepreneur whom they did numerous business before. Initially, it looked like the copper was transported into a shipping container and had passed the inspection of the product inspection company before and sealed over the container to prevent fraud. Still, the rumor was that someone sneakily opened the cargo and put the cobblestone instead of the copper in the middle of the night by swapping counterfeit containers with real ones to avoid detection while the cargo ship was sailing. In addition, Mercuria divided the payment of 36 million into 5 installments, with the final payment on August 20, 2020. Mercuria only knew they were swindled when 8 cargo ships arrived at the Chinese port of Lianyungang at the end of the same month.
This world-class fraud has shown that operational security and monitoring measures are considerably weak. In early 2014 and 2015, Mercuria had already prepared a loss account reserve to compensate for its losses after the metal in a Qingdao warehouse, a port city of China, was seized by officers as a part of the investigation of fraud.
From this painted stone fraud, Turkish police have detained a total of 13 suspects while Mercuria, one of the world’s five largest independent oil traders, is seeking compensation in a lawsuit filed against Turkish supplier, Bietsan, in Turkish courts and UK’s court of arbitration. Likewise, criminal complaints were filed to the Turkish police and prosecutors over cargo modifications and insurance fraud, allowing officials to investigate the man behind the scenes.
“The suspects are under custody; these people are believed to be involved in a crime to Mercuria,” said Mercury, and Mercuria asked Turkish police to also investigate criminal activity with vendors and intermediaries.
The Turkish police have concluded that the incident was an organized group of fraudulent acts because usually, in a case like this, the company that does not receive the goods will be able to make a freight insurance claim. However, Mercuria found that out of 7 contracts from the Turkish company to guarantee the product; only one contract was real, but the rest was not. In the meantime, the 13 suspects have been partially released and are under quarantine orders with another round of hearings that is expected this coming week.
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Source: World-class fraud! The giant company ordered copper for $36 mil but received containers full of painted stone (mgronline.com)