Gunvor Unit’s Oil Trading Activities Under Investigation in U.S.

A subsidiary of Gunvor Group Ltd., the independent energy trader, was served a subpoena by the U.S. Attorney’s office in April 2011 for documents relating to its oil-trading activities.

Castor Americas Inc., a Delaware-incorporated member of the group, and three of its staff received subpoenas, Gunvor said in a preliminary bond prospectus obtained by Bloomberg News. A Gunvor employee was also served.

In a separate investigation, the offices of oil companies BP Plc (BP/), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Statoil ASA (STL) and energy pricing service Platts were visited last week by European Union inspectors over allegations they “colluded in reporting distorted prices” to manipulate the published prices of crude, oil products and biofuels, according to the European Commission in Brussels. Gunvor is privately held by billionaires Gennady Timchenko and Torbjorn Tornqvist and does not regularly disclose its financial information.

While the Department of Justice “has not served any additional subpoenas to any companies or employees of Gunvor, Gunvor continues to cooperate,” according to the prospectus.

Seth Pietras, a Geneva-based spokesman for Gunvor, declined to comment on the subpoenas when contacted by telephone. Gunvor acquired Castor in 2009. Platts is a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jake Rudnitsky in Moscow at jrudnitsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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