September 25, 2019 / 5:15 PM / 2 months ago

Ex Mitsubishi oil trader denies he hid trades - lawyer

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The trader fired by Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T) for allegedly losing $320 million in unauthorised bets on the price of oil denied wrongdoing in a statement issued by a lawyer on Wednesday.

Wang Xingchen, also known as Jack Wang, did not engage in unauthorised trades in crude oil derivatives at Petro-Diamond Singapore (PDS), a division of Mitsubishi, according to Joseph Chen, a Singapore-based lawyer who claimed to be working on Wang’s behalf.

“Our client’s instructions are that the trades had been reviewed by PDS’ financial team and the losses were not caused by him but by Mitsubishi’s decisions,” Chen said in a statement.

PDS said last week that an unidentified trader, who handled crude oil trades for China, had “repeatedly” engaged in unauthorised derivatives transactions and had disguised them to look like hedge transactions since January.

The company said it had reported the trader to the police and terminated the trader’s employment.

Calls placed by Reuters to Wang’s mobile number were not returned. Chen declined to say where Wang was, citing concerns about his safety.

PDS has not named the trader it said was responsible for the losses. The company has said it referred the matter to Singapore police.

A Mitsubishi Corp spokesman declined to comment on Chen’s statements.

“The facts we found from our investigations were what we have announced last week. We will continue to cooperate with investigations by the local police,” the spokesman said.

Chen said he had been retained by Wang on Aug. 19, at a time when Wang was on leave from PDS. Reuters viewed a letter authorizing Chen to handle matters related to Wang’s employment with PDS.

Mitsubishi said it had begun to investigate transactions related to the losses in mid-August, at a time when the trader it blamed for the losses was absent from work.

The loss, which represents about 6% of Mitsubishi’s annual profit, was the first of its kind in the trading firm’s history.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu, Shu Zhang and Florence Tan in Singapore and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo.; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Carmel Crimmins

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