February 13, 2019 / 3:30 PM / 2 months ago

EXCLUSIVE-FBI investigating top Vitol executives in Americas -sources

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The FBI is investigating trading firm Vitol’s top two executives in the Americas in connection with a Brazil bribery case involving deals with Petroleo Brasileiro SA, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Mike Loya, Houston-based head of Vitol in the United States, and Antonio Maarraoui, the company’s head for Latin American and the Caribbean, are under investigation by the U.S. law enforcement agency, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Brazilian prosecutors previously said that the pair had direct knowledge of a Vitol kickback scheme with Petrobras.

Vitol, the world’s top independent oil trader, said it has a zero tolerance policy for bribery and corruption. Neither Loya nor Maarraoui responded to e-mail requests for comment.

John Marzulli, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue, on Wednesday declined to confirm or deny that an investigation into the men is underway by the office. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Brad Brooks in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston and Julia Payne in Geneva; Editing by Will Dunham

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