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Dan-Bunkering trial: Prosecution examines revealing email to Group Directors

08 Nov 2021

Disclaimer: An online translation service was used in the production of the current editorial piece, which Manifold Times had reproduction permission from Danish Radio (DR).

The sixth day of the Dan-Bunkering trial, regarding alleged violations of EU Syria sanctions, took place on Thursday (4 November) at the High Court in Odense, according to DR.

Prosecutors asked two Directors of Dan-Bunkering and parent company Bunker Holding about a revealing email which showed a legal adviser within the group warning about the deal in question following an inquiry from the Danish Business Authority.

The Mail to Directors

On 23 December 2016, the Danish Business Authority approached Dan-Bunkering asking whether it had helped to supply jet fuel to Syria in violation of the EU’s sanctions. 

The agency had received information about this from the United States the day before.

A month later, Dan-Bunkering wrote in a reply to the Danish Business Authority it had reviewed all its trades in jet fuel and that there was nothing to suggest that products have ended in Syria.

But an email which was presented in court showed Casper Dybdal, legal adviser at Bunker Holding, having a completely different assessment of whether Dan-Bunkering violated the sanctions.

The email dated 6 February 2017, sent to four directors of Dan-Bunkering and Bunker Holding when the former wanted to make another new trade in jet fuel with a Russian customer, had Casper Dybdal questioning: “But we have now been made aware that the product will most likely end up in Syria. What is your take on it?”

A Strange Wording

Dan-Bunkering Director, Claus Bulch Klausen, the former vice president of the company also received the email. He was questioned in court and explained that he had wondered about the email at the time.

“I thought it was a strange wording, as we had just looked through all the things and seen that it did not end in Syria. It must be at Casper Dybdal’s expense. That was not our view,” Claus Bulch Klausen explained.

Claus Bulch Klausen is not charged in the case, but was questioned as a representative of Dan-Bunkering.

The legal adviser, Casper Dybdal, also pointed out in the email from 2017 that the Danish Business Authority had written to Dan-Bunkering that they could see “it continue”, hence Dan-Bunkering followed the trades.

Casper Dybdal recommended that if the trades were to continue, a clear statement should be inserted in the agreements with the customer that the jet fuel was not for use in Syria.

Another Eight Deliveries

That recommendation was passed on from Dan-Bunkering’s current director, Claus Bulch Klausen, to Dan-Bunkering’s office in Russia, which was in charge of the jet fuel dealers where the local employees followed the trades.

According to the indictment, there were then eight more deliveries of jet fuel until May 2017.

Senior prosecutor Andreas Laursen pointed out in court that Dan-Bunkering had repeatedly supplied jet fuel to the Russian military at a time when Russia was conducting bombing raids in Syria and that Dan-Bunkering delivered fuel in ports in the Mediterranean, not far from Syria.

  •         Andreas Laursen: Are you considering what the Russians will use the jet fuel for with the next trades?
  •         Claus Bulch Klausen: No, there is nothing in our study that shows that they use it for something wrong, was the answer from.

Bunker Holding CFO, Michael Krabbe, who was also being questioned as an uncharged individual in court further explained Bunker Holding always had very strong focus on compliance sanctions.

“If there is one thing that means a lot to us, it is that we do not commit sanctions,” he said.

Up to the Court

Bunker Holding has already explained in a written hearing that the company in 2017 did not believe that Dan-Bunkering was involved in the transportation of jet fuel to Syria when enquired by the Danish Business Authority, according to CFO Michael Krabbe.

  •         Andreas Laursen: Do you agree with Bunker Holding’s view at the time? 
  •         Michael Krabbe: Yes, as it looked then.
  •         Andreas Laursen: And as it looks now?
  •         Michael Krabbe: I will leave that to this court to decide

The trial is set to continue on Tuesday (9 November) where the CEO of Bunker Holding, Keld Demant, is to be questioned. The top director is accused of having participated in the eight deliveries of jet fuel that took place after Dan-Bunkering responded to the Danish Business Authority in early 2017.

The prosecution has planned that during the interrogation, audio clips from secret telephone tappings will be played as well.

The trial is expected to be decided before Christmas.

Note: Earlier Manifold Times coverage regarding Bunker Holding/Dan-Bunkering’s alleged breaches of EU sanctions can be found below:

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


Photo credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Source: DR
Published: 8 November, 2021

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