Rusneftegaz can today issue an urgent warning regarding the most aggressive fraud scheme that we have learned of in the history of our enterprise. Whilst we are regularly informed about duplicate and twin websites that are designed to create the impression of a genuine company, we were recently notified of a scam whereby potential customers met fake representatives of our corporation at an office in Moscow. This was arranged following numerous emails exchanged between multiple parties, during which the target was sent a draft contract, an irrevocable corporate purchase order, and a bank reference letter. Throughout the dialogue, the aspirant buyers were offered a broad range of petroleum products at substantially below market prices in vast quantities, far greater than we could extract or source. Likewise, the victims were also afforded the opportunity to have the oil delivered to a port of their choice without perquisites or preconditions, in spite of the fact that the location chosen would not have had the capacity to process such volumes. When the formal negotiations were held in the Russian capital, the buyer met with three individuals who introduced themselves as senior directors of our firm. The purchaser was then presented with a number of forged business cards and documents to give a veneer of legitimacy and competence, which ultimately gave the customer the confidence to begin contractual talks with the criminals.
In the midst of these discussions, the imposters exerted no direct pressure to finalize the acquisition at that time, but told the prospective clients that the return on their investment would be considerable. Upon traveling back to their home country, the only communications that took place between both sides were electronic, through which the supposed sellers began to demand payment for additional services necessary to settle the non-existent arrangement. It was only at this stage that the plot was foiled after the client conducted due diligence and discovered that the account the funds were set to be disbursed into was in the name of an individual, instead of that of a corporate entity. Subsequently, it also emerged that these fees were also partially required to have the deal authorized by the authorities, which there is no need for under federal law. Similarly, upon further inspection, it was also noticed that the contact information used by the charlatans, including the registered address, telephone numbers, and email address, did not correspond to any businesses in Russia or abroad. In response to the scale of this deception, our Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Aleksandr Filyurin, remarked:
“I am very pleased that we managed to discover this fraud just in time before large financial losses could occur. It just emphasizes how important it is for anyone trying to buy oil to be vigilant against fraud. It is easy to attack the victims in all of this for their naivety and lack of research, but it could happen to anyone at any time. Fraudsters are getting better at committing these crimes; they are adapting to all the changes we make to prevent fraud, and are becoming more cunning and clever. There are obviously some schemes that are so basic that they are designed to trick only the most ignorant of buyers, but increasingly we are seeing new schemes that have obviously been premeditated and specifically created to target established companies. Personally, as someone who spends a lot of time researching fraud, I would recommend that anyone who wishes to buy oil products does plenty of research before they do anything they will later regret. Anyone looking to do a deal like this needs to work with an established broker to buy what they want directly from one of the major commodity exchanges.”
As per the quote from our esteemed colleague, we continue to strongly advocate that all parties seeking to buy significant quantities of crude or refined petroleum should do so via an approved broker who maintains the capacity to work with a commodities exchange. This is due to the fact that as a corporation, neither Rusneftegaz nor any of our subsidiaries, partners, or affiliates will proactively send or initiate offers to sell such goods under any circumstances. Moreover, we do not utilize the services of any agents or intermediaries to market these fuels on our behalf, and we suggest that all those in receipt of such proposals report these groups or individuals to us as soon as possible. All potential clients must be acutely aware that criminals will typically use falsified documents with doctored contact details, and thus corroborating this with the materials published on our website serves as a convenient method to clarify if such files are authentic. Perhaps more concerning are the progressively bold attempts by the culprits to extort approximately two to five percent of the value of the deal from the victim prior to the settlement of the contract. In most cases, this payment pertains solely to the acquisition of the hydrocarbons, but we have also observed several instances where an outlay is demanded to meet transportation, storage, or notarization fees. We advise any individual who holds suspicions about someone claiming to represent us to approach our organization via any of the usual channels with utmost urgency. We necessitate your cooperation and understanding with this matter.
Please note that this is the sole official website for Rusneftegaz and all of our affiliate companies. Any party claiming to represent or act as an agent for either Rusneftegaz is not legitimate.