Swiss Prosecutors Indict an Ex-Employee of Trading Firm Gunvor over Bribes Paid in Republic of Congo

September 27, 2023

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss federal prosecutors on Tuesday said they have indicted a former employee of oil trading company Gunvor over bribes paid to obtain access to the Republic of Congo’s petroleum market more than a decade ago.

The attorney general’s office said the indictment follows an eight-year investigation, during which the company itself was ordered to pay 94 million Swiss francs ($94 million) in 2019 over the bribery allegations.

The suspect, who wasn’t identified by name, was responsible for Gunvor’s financial matters in Congo-Brazzaville between June 2010 and December 2011, and is accused of “actively participating in the bribery of foreign public officials,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

The 2019 decision that penalized Gunvor included nearly 90 million francs — a sum said to be close to the amount of profits the company had earned from the bribery operations in the African country — as well as 4 million francs in fines, 1 million below the maximum allowed in such cases under Swiss law.

Gunvor was co-founded by Swedish oil magnate Torbjörn Törnqvist, its current chairman, and Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is no longer affiliated with it.

The company website says Timchenko’s shares, in anticipation of “potential economic sanctions,” were sold to Törnqvist in March 2014 — as Russia moved to annex the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

The next day, the U.S. government announced sanctions against Russian interests, including Timchenko himself.

Gunvor has since stopped its operations in the Republic of Congo, and said it has improved its compliance programs.

Last year, the firm posted revenues of $150 billion, a more than 40% increase from 2021 and up from $50 billion in 2020, according to its 2023 brochure.

Gunvor’s main trading office is in Geneva, but its headquarters are in Nicosia, Cyprus.


NICOSIA - You don’t mess with trying to claim the name Halloumi for the prized Cypriot cheese that’s one of its most important exports and an Indian firm that tried to do so was blocked there in a case brought by the Cypriot government.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.


Police Arrest Suspect in the Shooting of 3 Men of Palestinian Descent near the University of Vermont

Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting of three young men of Palestinian descent who were attending a Thanksgiving holiday gathering near the University of Vermont campus Saturday evening.

PHILADELPHIA — LeBron James never endured a lopsided basketball defeat like the one he suffered with Los Angeles in Philadelphia.

UTTARKASHI, India — Officials in India said Tuesday they were on the verge of rescuing the 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel for over two weeks in the country's north, after rescuers drilled their way through debris to reach them.

LOS ANGELES — The Denver Nuggets were undermanned, on the road and playing the second night of a back-to-back without Nikola Jokic.

FRANKFURT, Germany — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed Tuesday that his government will work "as fast as possible" to lay out how to solve a budget crisis, but he offered few details on how he would achieve his goals of promoting clean energy after a court decision struck down billions in funding.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.