Europe’s largest copper producer said it was the victim of a major theft in which nearly $200 million worth of base metal was stolen and that company insiders may have played a key role.

in a Tuesday press releaseHamburg-based Aurubis AG said it found a metal shortage of 185 million euros (about $198 million) after carrying out special stockpiling in August.

Aurubis said it paid inflated invoices for scrap metal and other raw materials for its copper production, based on samples it claimed were manipulated.

The group produced $18 billion in revenue In August last year, the company revealed “serious signs” of shortages of its metal products, confirming that it would not be able to meet its profit targets as a result.

The copper producer’s shares plunged 15% the day after the announcement, before recovering slightly.

“We are working closely with the investigating authorities and working at full speed to get to the bottom of the criminal activity,” Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said in a press release. “We have assembled all necessary internal resources and are hiring External forensic experts.”

The company said it was able to partially offset the losses caused by the theft by paying $30 million in insurance and seizing the assets of the criminals involved.

A representative for Aurubis said the identities of the criminals were not yet known. wealth Germany’s national criminal investigation office is still paying close attention to the matter.

However, in June the company disclose It has been the target of “past criminal activity” and authorities are investigating past and present Aurubis employees as well as external staff working at the group.

An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office resulted in an arrest warrant worth €20 million. Aurubis sought to reassure investors that the company itself was not involved in any illegal activity.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the theft syndicate exposed in June is related to the nearly $200 million asset gap. However, Aurubis said the June survey was based on intermediate products and was similar to the scrap metal shortage found in August.

Investors initially pushed the stock up 5.6% in the minutes following Tuesday’s news, signaling a better-than-expected decline, but the stock later gave back some of those gains. The stock rose 1.5% in early trading Wednesday.

A series of high-profile thefts

The missing metal from Aurubis is the latest in a series of high-profile thefts that have caused huge anxiety among metals traders about the security of shipping infrastructure.

Commodity trading is an unusually high-level bureaucracy and Paperwork, making the time ripe for corruption. This problem is common and most worrisome to insiders who have access to these records.

In February, commodities trader Trafigura said it was facing more than $500 million in impairment charges after discovering that nickel cargoes it traded actually contained material of much lower value, known as bagged rock.

In March it was revealed that JPMorgan Chase, the world’s largest bank, was the unfortunate owner of the shipment.

For its part, Aurubis said customers were not affected by its own shortages, although it continued to investigate the impact of the theft on suppliers.

The crisis in commodities markets has rocked the London Metal Exchange, with the embattled trading house handling more than $15 trillion worth of deals last year.The group was forced to briefly Stop trading Price of nickel after Trafigura crisis.


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