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Dan-Bunkering, the group’s parent company Bunker Holding and a company director have been charged by Denmark’s Public Prosecutor for Special Economic and International Crime (SØIK) over selling jet fuel to Russian companies, which in turn sent the fuel on to Syria.

Dan-Bunkering is alleged to have made 33 separate sales between 2015 and 2017 – a violation of EU sanctions banning the sale of jet fuel in Syria.

Dan-Bunkering is alleged to have sold a total of 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel to Russian companies, after which the fuel was delivered to various locations in the Mediterranean and eventually passed to an unknown recipient in Port Banias, Syria.

SØIK estimates the total value of the sales to be around DKK 647 million ($102 million).

‘It is our assessment that the dealings with the Russian companies are a violation of EU sanctions,’ said Per Fiig, acting public prosecutor at SØIK (the Danish Prosecution Service). ‘It is of course a very serious case if a Danish company violates EU sanctions that have been imposed on another country on the basis of a very critical and serious situation.’

The case has been raised as a violation of the Penal Code §110 c and will be brought before the Court in Odense, SØIK said in a statement.

Reports that the Bunker Holding subsidiary Dan-Bunkering had sold more than 30,000 metric tonnes of aviation fuel to a Russian shipping company, Sofracht, which subsequently ended up being used by Russia fighter planes during the Syrian civil war surfaced in April 2019.

In January 2020, following a decision by a Danish High Court to partially overturn name bans in relation to the case, it was revealed that Bunker Holding and its CEO Keld Demant had also been charged along with Dan-Bunkering. A second individual also faced charges but was not named.

At the time, Dan-Bunkering, in a statement sent to Bunkerspot, spoke out on the alleged violation of EU sanctions against Syria, insisting that ‘everything has been investigated – the case should be closed,’ 

Responding today (11 November) to the charges concerning the alleged sanction breaches, Bunker Holding and Dan-Bunkering issued the following joint statement:

‘Today the Danish state prosecutor (SØIK) chose to bring charges against Dan-Bunkering and Bunker Holding. We take note of these charges and look forward to having the matter fully investigated and concluded at a potential trial.

‘However, we are surprised that SØIK has chosen to bring these charges forward. Our own thorough internal investigations have revealed no signs that anyone within Bunker Holding or Dan-Bunkering had any knowledge of the alleged breaches of EU sanctions. We have not supplied fuel to companies included in the EU sanctions list at the time of our business dealings with them.

‘We have readily answered all questions from the authorities, including the Danish Business Authority’s initial inquiry on the matter. However, we have not been able to enter into a proper dialogue with the authorities. Among other things, we would have liked to discuss the fact that no authorities at the time of the trades or afterwards have raised any red flags or provided any response to the trades in question.

‘Since the case came up nearly four years ago, it has generated considerable attention from both the media and the politicians which has led many people to adopt an opinion on the matter without having the full overview of the facts.

‘We strongly denounce any breach of sanctions and any attempt to breach sanctions is, of course, unacceptable. Bunker Holding has one of the industry's most comprehensive and advanced systems checking all of the group's more than 100,000 annual trades against around 2,000 international sanction lists.

‘We have no further comment on the matter at this point in time.’

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