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    Four Sunoco Employees on Leave After Alleged Policy Violations

    Department of Justice and other government agencies launch investigation into suspected crude oil bidding activities.

    PHILADELPHIA -- Through an internal investigation into the bidding for a crude oil processing transaction, Sunoco Inc. determined four employees within its crude oil supply, product trading and wholesale distribution organization violated company policy, and as a result, removed those employees from their positions and put them on administrative leave pending resolution of the matter, the company stated.

    Thomas Golembeski, Sunoco spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer a crude-oil processing transaction typically involves a refiner agreeing to process petroleum in exchange for a fee and a percentage of the product. He said Sunoco ordinarily did not engage in such deals.

    Upon becoming aware of improper conduct, Sunoco immediately withdrew from the bidding process and launched an internal investigation. It also contacted the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and Sunoco is cooperating with the DOJ and other governmental authorities in a continuing investigation, according to a company statement.

    While the names of the employees were not revealed by Sunoco, a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer cited industry sources who said the bidding apparently involved the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

    Three senior Sunoco executives in Philadelphia and a trader in London were no longer at their desks amid speculation about an investigation into trading practices, according to trade reports sourced by the Inquirer. It identified the four as Tony Hepworth, vice president for crude and raw material trading and supply; Joe Colella, vice president of product trading sales and supply; Meredith Earley, a manager in crude supply and trading; and Anwar Elahi, a London trader.

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