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(Bloomberg) -- Trafigura Beheer BV, the third-largest crude trader, has scrapped a controversial products-swap deal with Nigeria’s national oil company, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The firm will no longer exchange gasoline and other petroleum products for crude oil with Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said the person who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The arrangement was abandoned, in part, because of increasing scrutiny over deals in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, by banks that provide financing to commodity traders, the person said.
So-called swap deals, where no money is exchanged, have been criticized by the Berne Declaration and other non- governmental organizations because they take place outside the banking system and the oversight of regulators who supervise lending for commodity trading transactions.
Commodity trade swap contracts are “beyond any legal or political control,” said Oliver Classen of the Berne Declaration, a financial watchdog that published a 2013 report on the activities of commodity traders in Nigeria.
Trafigura in November broke ranks with most of its competitors by agreeing to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and disclose oil-related payments it makes to governments who have signed on to the program. Trafigura’s EITI disclosure won’t cover metals trading or product swaps.
Victoria Dix, a Geneva-based spokeswoman for Trafigura, declined to comment on the end of the Nigeria swap deal, which was reported by Swiss newspaper Le Temps earlier Friday.
Nigeria’s former central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said last year that about $20 billion in state oil revenue was unaccounted for. The Nigerian government has disputed the allegations made by Sanusi, who was later fired by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sansui made no allegations against Trafigura or any other foreign trading firms dealing in Nigerian oil and crude products.
Ohi Alegbe, a spokesman for the NNPC in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, didn’t immediately respond to two calls to his mobile phone and a text message seeking comment.
Amsterdam-based Trafigura was the only major independent commodity trader known to be conducting oil product swaps with Nigeria. Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Vitol Group trade oil from Nigeria or sell product to importers but the deals aren’t swap contracts.
Nigerian lawmakers began a probe in 2013 after a report by the Berne Declaration raised allegations of potential oil industry fraud in the country, which relies on crude exports for 80 percent of government revenue.
A 2012 Nigerian parliamentary probe recommended that 70 gasoline importers including the NNPC refund 1.1 trillion naira ($6.9 billion) in fuel-subsidy payments, saying the process was rife with corruption.
--With assistance from Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja.
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