Fraudulent bills of lading

A Scandinavian ship agent was requested by a ship owner to issue bills of lading for a cargo of new steel coils of Turkish origin which were loaded in Turkey in November 1987. The cargo was in fact rusted straight bars of Bulgarian origin, loaded in Burgas in December 1987. The Italian receivers sued the owner, charterer and the ship agent for US$500,000. The charterer (who was also the seller) subsequently disappeared and the owners went bankrupt. Although there was no evidence of collusion by the ship agent, and he was eventually exonerated, he was left as the sole defendant in a case which took ten years to resolve and cost US$75,000 to defend.

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