January 9, 2018 / 2:02 AM / 5 months ago

Singapore arrests 17, seizes millions in suspected Shell oil heist

SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Seventeen men have been arrested and millions of dollars in cash seized as part of an investigation into a suspected oil theft at Shell's biggest refinery, Singapore police said on Tuesday.

The arrests, made during raids on Sunday, come after Royal Dutch Shell Plc reported the theft to Singapore authorities at its Pulau Bukom industrial site in August last year.

The company said in a news release that the arrests included "a limited number of Shell employees" and that it anticipated "a short delay in the supply operations at Bukom." Those arrested, all men, ranged in age from 30 to 63.

Police said they also seized S$3.05 million ($2.29 million) in cash and a small, 12,000-deadweight-tonne tanker.

They have also frozen the suspects' bank accounts, the police said.

Bukom is the largest wholly owned Shell refinery in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity, according to the company's website.

Shell declined to say how much oil had been stolen. ($1 = 1.3320 Singapore dollars)

Reporting by John Geddie and Florence Tan; Editing by Gerry Doyle

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