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Argentina court probes suspected oil fraud

May 12, 2004
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According to Reuters, an Argentine court is probing suspected fraud linked to a shipment of oil imported by Exxon''s Argentine unit, a court source said on Tuesday, adding three customs officials and the tanker captain had been arrested. Argentina''s Customs Department, which first brought up the case in October 2003, suspects part of a 45,000-ton crude shipment imported by Esso was sold in Argentina''s domestic market when it was supposed to be refined and re-exported. Esso Petrolera Argentina, a subsidiary of oil giant ExxonMobil, on Tuesday denied any ill-doing, saying it had documentation to prove it had temporarily imported the shipment and says it was all exported again once refined. The Customs Department says it believes a fraudulent operation took place in 2002, and avoided around $7 million in tax dues.
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