Swiss company involved in delicate Libya-shops

From 2014 to 2015 took advantage of the Zug-based oil trading company Kolmar Group AG, which employs 250 staff, is an illegal trade network, in order to get Lib

Swiss company involved in delicate Libya-shops

From 2014 to 2015 took advantage of the Zug-based oil trading company Kolmar Group AG, which employs 250 staff, is an illegal trade network, in order to get Libyan oil. The Oil had been diverted from the civil war-torn country and then in Europe, and sold. The research of the non-governmental organization of the Public Eye, and their partner organization Trial International show.

The case is part of the "Dirty Oil"-an investigation of the Italian financial police. Three years ago, their investigators met with a smuggling network, which sold subsidised fuel from Libya in Italy. The Background: Although Libya has the largest Oil reserves in Africa, it is forced to buy fuel in Europe at high prices because its refineries are shut down. Some of the smugglers quickly understood the appeal of this diesel oil, which is available at the local gas pump for the equivalent of ten cents per Liter, to divert, to throw it into Europe illegally on the market. The damage to the Libyan state has, as its Central Bank subsidized the price difference with billion.

for conspiracy and fraud imprisonment

threaten In the fall of 2017, managed by the Italian investigators, to smash the illegal network that was operated by the former drug dealer Fahmi Ben Khalifa,. He is allied with an armed group, which controls the most important oil Refinery of the country in al-Zawiya. From there, the fuel tank trucks ports transported to the middle of Abu Kammash and Zuwara. The investigators covered the return trips of fishermen on boats off the coast waiting Tanker supplied. And the role of its Maltese owner, Darren Debono and Gordon Debono. The Laden ships then set course for Malta or Sicily. They loaded their cargo on the sea. The main customers are the Maxcom bunker SA, in Augusta, Sicily registered companies.

Now Fahmi Ben Khalifa, the two Maltese business men and seven Italian nationals in the Sicilian city of Syracuse to stand trial. They are accused of "TRANS-national conspiracy to white-wash of illegally traded Diesel, as well as fraud". The judgment could be made according to the Public Eye this year. The defendants prison sentences of up to twenty years threaten.

the role of The Kolmar Group, one of whose founders, in 1997, the holding company of the deceased Marc Rich, has not been studied in the framework of the Italian criminal procedure. The Name of the Zug-based company is not found in the indictment to. However, the non-governmental organizations received by a non-mentioned source, from Malta, Bank statements of the Oceano Blu Trading, a Maltese company, which is in communication with Darren Debono. The documents to prove payment of eleven million dollars, which were made between June and July 2015, of Kolmar.

To be rented, this time the Swiss company is an oil terminal at the port of the Maltese capital city of Valletta. Of the Public Eye, and Trial of internationally managed, these payments twenty-two Oil deliveries to. Three different tankers brought in fuel from Libya to Malta. Your report according to the Maltese customs have been submitted forged origin documents in order to smuggle the Oil to Europe.

The activities lasted several months, until 2016, the UN uncovered the illegal trade chain. Only then will the Maltese customs banned the import of Libyan Diesel – "the year in which Kolmar Malta left", such as Public Eye notes. Overall, the Zug-based companies have received between spring 2014 and summer of 2015 "more than 50 000 tons of Diesel from Libya". The non-governmental organization criticized the organization for the decision as, "to do business with an obscure Maltese company, although the smuggling of Libyan Diesel to Malta was at that time in the trade". The Kolmar Group was confronted this week on several occasions with the research. She has not answered it.

is The Zug-based company, the warning signs

missed What knowledge could have Kolmar of the legal risks associated with fuels from a country that fell back in the civil war? Was "this time there are no international sanctions against the purchase of Libyan oil products, but any charge that has not been approved by the former national Oil company NOC, was regarded by Tripoli as illegal," says Montse Ferrer, legal adviser at Trial International. "Under such circumstances, the main problem is to check who the seller is," says a Geneva lawyer who does not want to be called.

The main players of the Smuggler group were on the American or European black lists. But: "The sale of heavily subsidized fuel for local use in foreign countries was forbidden," adds Ferrer. There was "virtually no fuel from Libyan refineries for sale abroad", and Kolmars fuel "was most likely a discount". Two aspects that should be flashing as warning lights.

The current Swiss laws allowed "the purchase of crude oil from a conflict zone by Swiss companies," criticized the Public Eye. The organization calls on the members of the Swiss Parliament in the Session that begins on Monday, impose on the raw material companies more stringent legal obligations.


This Text is from the current issue. Now all of the articles in the E-Paper of the Sunday newspaper, read: App for iOS App for Android – Web-App

Created: 01.03.2020, 07:10 PM

Updated Date: 02 March 2020, 16:03

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