The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment dismissing Glencore's appeal against the c.$ 100m damages ,interest and costs for deceit awarded by Flaux J to the Romanian oil company, Petrom. Glencore had been found liable for selling counterfeit cargoes of crude oil, inferior and cheaper crudes having been blended to resemble recognised grades of "Iranian Heavy" and "Gulf of Suez Mix". These were then sold into Romania with false documentation asserting that the cargoes were genuine Iranian Heavy and Gulf of Suez Mix and at a price referable to the market prices for those grades. Glencore's appeal was confined to quantum, the thrust of its argument being that the counterfeit blends had not caused any damage to the Romanian refineries and the performance of the blends would not have been greatly inferior to the recognised grades they were passed off as. The Court of Appeal rejected Glencore's arguments, upholding the Judge's conclusion that the market value for which Petrom had to give credit should reflect the risks and uncertainty surrounding the unfamiliar blend which the hypothetical purchaser would have taken into account as at the date of purchase. What happened later did not affect the market value as at that date. The judgment contains a salutary reminder that in fraud damages cases everything will be assumed against the fraudster.
Duncan Matthews QC and Andrew Fulton appeared on behalf of OMV Petrom SA ,instructed by Withers LLP