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By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
COPENHAGEN, May 30 (Reuters) - A Danish court on Wednesday sentenced the former manager of OW Bunker’s Singapore subsidiary to 18 months in prison after he was found guilty of granting credit outside his mandate, contributing to the bankruptcy of the marine fuel oil supplier.
The 2014 bankruptcy of OW Bunker, then the world’s leading supplier of marine fuel oil with a 7 percent market share, sent shockwaves through the global shipping industry and left investors and business partners scrambling to cover their losses.
The city court of Aalborg said it found Lars Moller, head of Dynamic Oil Trading in Singapore, guilty of giving a trading partner an unrecoverable credit worth $90.2 million without having the authority to do so from the management in Denmark and without recording it in the company’s accounting system.
The prosecutor had sought a fiver-year jail sentence for breach of trust.
The court said that Moller had not acted with the intention of benefiting himself or others.
OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy in Denmark in November 2014 after revealing losses at Dynamic Oil Trading as well as hedging losses of almost $300 million at its Danish headquarters, a marked change of fortunes for a company valued at $1 billion when it listed in March that year.
Moller’s defence lawyer Anders Nemeth told TV2 broadcaster the 18-month sentence was “not unexpected” and that it still was not clear whether Moller would appeal against the verdict.
Arvid Andersen, another of Moller’s defence lawyers, previously told Reuters there had been no criminal activity.
A group of 26 institutional investors, including two of the largest pension funds in Denmark, ATP and PFA, is also waging a legal campaign against the former management of OW Bunker. The investors accuse OW Bunker of misleading them in its 2014 initial public offering. ($1 = 6.3951 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen Editing by David Goodman and Alexandra Hudson)