The most curious part of this story has to be that it happened “despite security and inspection controls.”

How does one assigned to security and inspection give the OK for a bunch of painted stones to pass for THIRTY-SIX MILLION DOLLARS’ worth of copper?

Mercuria Energy Group must be re-examining its hiring practices after a Turkish supplier looks to have committed some serious cargo fraud against the Geneva-based company.

According to a BBC News story, the purchase last year was for 10,000 tons of copper blister, and, upon the arrival of the order in China, Mercuria found painted stones.

To be fair, the copper blister isn’t exactly the same as big, shiny pennies.

It’s described in the story as “an impure form of the metal” to the tune of about  300 containers on eight vessels.

That is a massive criminal endeavor, given that the copper had to be exchanged with the stones and then spray-painted before leaving from a Turkish port.

Turkish police are on the case.

“Suspects have been taken under custody who are thought to be involved in the various parts of this organised crime against Mercuria,” the company said in a statement while thanking the Istanbul Financial Crimes Department.

Mercuria, which BBC reports is among the five-biggest oil traders in the world, is seeking answers – and restitution perhaps – in Turkish and UK courts against the copper supplier Bietsan Bakir.

At least the cargo was insured, right?


Much to its dismay, Mercuria found that just one out of seven insurance contracts used by the Turkish company was real. The others were forged.

Bietsan Bakir did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by Reuters.

More hearings on the case are expected

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