Disclaimer: An online translation service was used in the production of the current editorial piece which is based from the Court of Odense’s judgement.
The Court in Odense on Tuesday (14 December) found Dan-Bunkering, Bunker Holding and its CEO guilty of sanctions violations where the parties negligently supplied a total of approximately 172,000 metric tonnes (mt) of jet fuel for use in Syria, according to the judgement seen by Manifold Times.
The violations specifically relate to eight trades of jet fuel that took place in the period between the period of February to May 2017.
Dan-Bunkering was found to had sold jet fuel to two Russian companies which were general agents for the Russian navy and conducted a total of 33 trades with deliveries to the eastern Mediterranean in the period between October 2015 to May 2017.
In all cases, the trades were concluded from Dan-Bunkering’s branch office in Kaliningrad, Russia.
A review of the trade documents, mails, unloading documents and AIS data proved the Russian companies, after receiving the jet fuel from Dan-Bunkering, had delivered the jet fuel in the Syrian port of Port Banias after which the jet fuel had been used by the Russian air force for military operations in Syria.
“The Court found that the deliveries objectively constituted infringements of EU sanctions,” stated the judgement.
Opinion of the judges at court
The majority of the judges found it was “overwhelmingly probable” that Dan-Bunkering must have realised the jet fuel would be used by the Russian military in Syria for all 33 trades, according to the judgement.
Further, since the trades were entered into by Russian employees at Dan-Bunkering’s branch office in Kaliningrad the staff must have been aware of the Russian intervention in Syria.
It was also emphasised the two Russian companies had not purchased jet fuel from Dan-Bunkering prior to October 2015; based on the amount of jet fuel delivered and on Dan-Bunkering’s knowledge that the two companies were general agents of the Russian fleet – the jet fuel should be used by the Russian military.
The minority at the court found that since one Russian company was sanctioned by the US authorities from September 2016, it was only after that date which Dan-Bunkering committed an intentional violation of EU sanctions.
The same group also agreed Dan-Bunkering negligently violated sanctions as the company should have realised the Russian companies supplied jet fuel for use in Syria which is in violation of EU sanctions.
Unanimously, the judges found Bunker Holding and Keld R. Demant to have contributed to a negligent violation of EU sanctions. Both should have stopped trading with the Russian company after the Danish Business Authority’s inquiry to Dan-Bunkering in December 2016, and after internal investigations by the group.
Prosecution and defence’s recommendations to the judge
The prosecution demanded Dan-Bunkering, Bunker Holding and its CEO be sentenced in accordance with the indictment.
They argued Dan-Bunkering should be fined DKK 319 million (USD 48.54 million) corresponding to approximately half of the amount for which jet fuel had been sold.
Bunker Holding should be fined DKK 81 million (USD 12.32 million) while its CEO Keld R. Demant should be punished with imprisonment for two years, according to principles related to the eight trades of jet fuel.
Lawyers representing the defendants maintained their claims of acquittal and argued a possible fine to the companies was to be calculated on the basis of the companies’ profits from the trades which amounted to less than 3%.
By the court’s judgment, Dan-Bunkering was fined DKK 30 million (USD 4.56 million), and Bunker Holding received a DKK 4 million (USD 610,000) fine.
Both fines are measured on the basis of the companies’ profits from the trades; the fine for Dan-Bunkering’s intentional violation of the rules is measured at approximately double the profit, while the fine for Bunker Holding’s negligent infringement is measured so that it roughly corresponds to the profit of the last eight trades of jet fuel.
CEO Keld R. Demant has been sentenced to four months in prison, which has been made conditional.
The court also emphasised, amongst other things, that Keld R. Demant is only punished for negligent violation of the sanctions.
In addition, Dan-Bunkering has confiscated the dividends from the traders which have been calculated by the court to be approximately DKK 15.65 million (USD 2.38 million).
Editor’s note: The judgement from the Court in Odense written in Danish can be found here.
Note: Earlier Manifold Times coverage regarding Bunker Holding/Dan-Bunkering’s alleged breaches of EU sanctions can be found below:
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Defence lawyer pleads for full acquittal of clients in court
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Court denies request sending case to European Court of Justice
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Denmark also bombed Syria, confirms defence counsel
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Prosecutors question Bunker Holding CEO Keld Demant
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Prosecution examines revealing email to Group Directors
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Hearing resumes after accusation of impartiality
Related: Dan-Bunkering trial: Hearing temporarily suspended due to impartiality
Related: Prominent prosecutor to lead spectacular lawsuit against Dan-Bunkering
Related: Bunker Holding: ‘No signs’ in alleged breach of EU sanctions post internal investigation
Related: Experts: Bunker Holding alleged jet fuel sale significant to outcome of Syrian War
Related: Bunker Holding ‘surprised’ at fuel sale charge; maintains ‘full confidence’ in Group CEO
Related: Danish prosecutor proposes jail sentence for Bunker Holding Group CEO over jet fuel sale
Related: Bunker Holding & Dan Bunkering allegedly charged over EU sanctions violations
Related: Dan Bunkering ‘surprised’ SØIK has pressed charges over alleged EU sanction violations
Related: Dan-Bunkering: Everything has been investigated – the case should be closed
Related: Name ban on parties involved with Dan-Bunkering Syrian jet fuel deal lifted
Related: Dan-Bunkering Middelfart office searched by commercial crimes police
Related: Firm linked to alleged Dan-Bunkering Syrian war activities under sanction
Related: Update: Dan-Bunkering Syria jet fuel supply ops allegedly longer than thought
Related: Dan-Bunkering faces preliminary charges by SOIK with violation of EU Syria sanctions
Related: Investigations on Dan-Bunkering over alleged Syrian jet fuel deal start
Related: Danske Bank casts doubts on Dan-Bunkering reason for Syria investigation
Related: Danske Bank reported Dan-Bunkering to police in EU sanctions case
Related: Bunker company acknowledges flawed statement in EU sanctions case
Related: Unioil Supply dragged into Dan-Bunkering sanctions allegations
Related: Dan-Bunkering has not violated EU’s sanctions against Syria, it insists
Related: Nordea highlights stance on compliance after Dan-Bunkering discovery
Related: Danish media alleges Dan-Bunkering jet fuel deliveries during Syria war
Digitalisation makes it easier for shipowners to conform to growing external regulations such as new sulphur regulations and ‘no scrubber’ zones; operators can identify better bunkering options to reduce costs.
‘We’ll start the application [to MPA] before the end of 2022 and hopefully to receive approval within six months or sooner,’ L. Y. Hwang, Director / General Manager of Oval Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, tells Manifold Times.
Rob Ashton, Market Manager of Infineum, explains how Infineum B402 is a relatively easy way for a ship operator to positively influence a vessel’s CII rating while improving its bunker fuel consumption performance.
Eventual adoption of Digital Bunker Document Standard speeds up interoperability between stakeholders from both public and private sectors, learns Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.
ISO delegates represented seven countries and were in Singapore to attend a three-day meeting of ISO WG13 to develop two new ISO bunkering standards, learns Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.
Cai Zhi Zhong received a total of about USD 1.3m to USD 1.6m, of which he saved a portion and spent the rest, including on property, cars and watches, according to court documents obtained by Manifold Times.