The Chapter 11 petition comes just days after the Greek company announced an audit committee had found the misappropriation of more than $300 million.
The Greek company touts itself as the world’s biggest independent physical supplier of marine fuels and as the owner of the world’s largest fleet of bunkering tankers.
The petition for bankruptcy includes a list of creditors holding the 30 largest unsecured claims. The largest amount, identified as unsecured bond debt, is $172.5 million, with the creditor listed as U.S. Bank National Association in New York. The top 30 unsecured claims total nearly $296 million.
Mercuria Energy Group Limited reportedly has agreed to provide more than $532 million to fund the Chapter 11 process as well as cover working capital needs.
Aegean issued a press release Friday stating that an audit committee had found that up to $300 million in company cash and other assets had been misappropriated through fraudulent activities.
“The audit committee believes that the principal beneficiary of the misappropriation is OilTank Engineering & Consulting Ltd., a company based in Fujairah and incorporated on March 15, 2010, in the Marshall Islands,” the statement said. “On March 31, 2010, OilTank entered into a contract with Aegean’s subsidiary to oversee the construction of the Fujairah Oil Terminal Facility. The audit committee believes that this contract was used to misappropriate company funds through inflated contracts and fraudulent pricing. The audit committee has reason to believe that OilTank is controlled by a former affiliate of the company.
According to the press release, as of Dec. 31, the company and its subsidiaries had an aggregate of about $200 million in accounts receivable that arose from purported commercial transactions that occurred in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“These transactions lacked economic substance as the relevant counterparties were shell companies with no material assets or operations and were owned or controlled by former employees or affiliates of the company.” Aegean said. “The audit committee believes that the receivables were improperly recorded as part of a scheme to facilitate and conceal an extensive misappropriation of company assets channeled to OilTank but accounted for as transactions with these shell companies. The audit committee has further confirmed that the approximately $200 million of receivables are uncollectible and will be written off.”
The investigation also reportedly uncovered prepayment for future oil deliveries that were never made.
“The misappropriation of company assets — and the fraudulent accounting entries and fictitious documentation designed to conceal it — involved over a dozen company employees, including members of senior management,” Aegean said. “The employees who directed the scheme, which involved the creation of falsified and forged documents, including bank statements, audit confirmations, contracts, invoices and third-party certifications, among others, have been terminated.
“The audit committee believes that this misconduct occurred in part because the former affiliate has exerted significant control over company personnel and assets through various inappropriate means, including threats of economic retaliation and physical violence,” the statement said. “In addition, the former affiliate continues to have access to and control over the company’s electronic and physical files.”