Dutch to probe claims of Trafigura bribes in Jamaica

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Dutch investigators will question politicians in Jamaica about bribes allegedly received from multinational oil trader Trafigura, the prosecution service in The Hague said Tuesday.

Trafigura "is suspected of having paid bribes to politicians in Jamaica," Dutch prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP of a probe that started in 2007.

The company was registered in Amsterdam, he said, "which means that if a suspicion arises that it has made itself guilty of bribery in another country, the Dutch prosecution service can open a criminal investigation".

De Bruin would not confirm a report in the daily Volkskrant newspaper that the company allegedly paid 466,000 euros (640,000 dollars) towards a politician's re-election campaign in exchange for the extension of an oil contract.

Trafigura was fined one million euros by a Dutch court in July last year for illegally exporting toxic waste to the Ivory Coast, which the West African nation said killed 17 people.

The company, which claims to be the world's third largest independent oil trader, has lodged an appeal against that decision.

De Bruin said the Jamaican supreme court ruled last November that politicians in that country may be questioned by Dutch investigators about the alleged bribery, but could not say when this would happen.

"This is a criminal investigation, at the end of which the prosecution service will decide whether or not there should be a criminal trial."

Trafigura in a statement denied "any allegations of wrongdoing concerning this matter".

"Naturally, we always cooperate with the relevant authorities and their investigations," it said.

© 2011 AFP

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