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CRIME

Danish company in court for violating EU Syria sanctions

A Danish fuel supplier went on trial Tuesday, accused of violating EU sanctions against Syria by delivering fuel used by Russian warplanes in the war-torn country.

Odense Court, where a case against a Danish company accused of breaking EU sanctions to sell fuel to Syria begins on October 26th.
Odense Court, where a case against a Danish company accused of breaking EU sanctions to sell fuel to Syria begins on October 26th. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

Dan-Bunkering, through its subsidiary in Russia’s Kaliningrad, sold about 172,000 tonnes of fuel to two Russian companies between 2015 and 2017, prosecutors say. 

The fuel was then delivered to Syria.

As the trial opened in Odense in central Denmark, prosecutor Anders Dyrvig Rechendorff told AFP that he was seeking a jail sentence for Dan-Bunkering’s chief executive and fines for the company. 

Defence lawyers declined to comment, but Dan-Bunkering has previously said it expects to be acquitted.

“We are convinced we did not sell fuel to companies that were subject to EU sanctions at the time of the trade,” it said in a statement ahead of the trial.

Dan-Bunkering insists it acted in good faith and that the Russian companies which supplied fuel to the Russian military were not subject to EU sanctions.

The transactions totalled 647 million Danish kroner (87 million euros), or just under two percent of the company’s revenues for the period from 2015 until 2017.

According to media reports, Dan-Bunkering’s business partner was the Russian company Maritime, responsible for supplying fuel to Russian military aircraft in Syria.

EU sanctions against the Syrian regime came into force in late 2011 and have been extended until June 1st, 2022. They include an oil embargo and a freeze on assets held by the Syrian central bank in the EU. 

No similar cases of violations of the Syria embargo have been brought before the courts of member countries, according to the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust).

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MONEY

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The National Unit for Special Crime has received 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief packages since 1st April 2020, according to a press release from the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet).

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The frauds and attempted frauds amount to 212 million kroner, although some of the scams were discovered before the fraudsters got the money. More than 28 million kroner has been recovered through 102 recovery operations.

According to Jørgen Andersen, deputy police inspector and head of the Money Laundering Secretariat, the task has been taken “very seriously” in the secretariat since the introduction of corona relief packages.

“And it has had a high priority with us as authorities. But also with the notifiers – here primarily banks and the accountants – and we sat down together quite quickly in a community.

“Here, we organised the effort in such a way that when banks and auditors sent notifications to us where there was a suspicion of misuse of schemes, we typically sent them within 24 hours to the authorities who paid money on these schemes”, Andersen says.

Companies or individuals should contact the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet) if they suspect money laundering or terrorist financing.

In October 2020, an eight-billion kroner stimulus package was agreed in parliament to help Danish businesses and cultural institutions hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The financial package also included a liquidity fund totalling 28 million kroner. 

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new coronavirus relief for businesses and culture

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