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Not really, no

Europe’s biggest copper producer has warned it may face hundreds of millions of euros in losses after being hit by a massive theft.

Shares in Hamburg-based Aurubis dropped as much as 18pc after the company said it had found significant discrepancies in stockpiles and shipments of scrap metal linked to its recycling business.

Bosses believe some of its suppliers have manipulated details about the scrap metal they provided and have been working with employees in the company’s sampling department to cover it up.

That’s unlikely to be a massive theft. Far more reasonable for it to be a series of minor thefts. Which then turn up once you do a proper stocktake and audit. It’s damn difficult to lie about the arrival of a train of scrap, or the content of that train full of scrap. Trivially easy, with inside help, to get paid out on 2 and 5% variations in your favour of weights and purities. Nudging up the tin content by 2 or 5% on a 5 tonne load, that sort of thing. Over time and a group of suppliers that would indeed add up.

Sure, obviously, I could be wrong. But that’s the way I’d bet. Long standing and individually small scale fiddle, they’ve just found out the cumulative effect of it.

4 thoughts on “Not really, no”

  1. Not always small scale fiddles:

    Back in the 70’s a massive fraud with the NSW wheat board surfaced ~50 million AUD pa. which had been going on for years

    All sorts of checks on the trains to ensure weight, moisture protein etc where what was loaded. HOWEVER these checks were intitiated by the arrival of the train at the loading port, if the whole train never arrived – no checks.

    What was happening was some trains went to some siding somewhere, contents loaded into trucks and driven to another wheat board silo and resold to them. Obviously a serious number of wheat board, railway employees farmers and others where involved. Very few were convicted and only for minor offences.

  2. I once visited a sugar refinery and was impressed at the steps taken to ensure that the loads of beet really were beet and not stones, fence posts, or whatever.

    (Fascinating visit, by the way; highly recommended. They recycled warm, CO2-rich turbine exhaust gases to greenhouses to let ’em grow tomatoes. They used the soil washed off the beet to grow different grades of turf for sports fields and lawns. They sold recovered protein as fish food. …)

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