Trafigura denies knowing that nickel deals with Gupta were fake

Trafigura Group denied that it or any of its employees were aware that deals with businessman Prateek Gupta involved anything other than nickel, in the latest salvo in a fraud case that has rocked the metals industry.

Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodity traders, revealed in February that it had lost more than half a billion dollars after buying cargoes of nickel from Gupta’s companies, only to discover that they contained much lower value materials.

Gupta responded in July, acknowledging that the cargoes contained metals other than nickel, but claiming that Trafigura’s employees had proposed such an arrangement as a way to increase its trading volume.

In a response filed to a London court last week, lawyers for Trafigura said that neither the employees named by Gupta “nor anyone else at or on behalf of Trafigura discussed, or agreed to enter into, the Alleged Arrangement. The Alleged Arrangement did not exist.”

Trafigura has consistently said that it doesn’t believe that any of its employees was complicit in the fraud, and in its response it said both the company and the relevant individuals denied that there were any discussions about the arrangement as Gupta alleged.

Further, the company argued, even if Gupta’s account of his conversations with the Trafigura employees was accurate, the arrangement he described would be “manifestly contrary to Trafigura’s interests” and therefore “any contract or transaction to which they purported to bind Trafigura would be void.”

(By Jack Farchy)