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Experts: Bunker Holding alleged jet fuel sale significant to outcome of Syrian War

23 Nov 2020

A senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, Flemming Splidsboel, has evaluated the 172,000 metric tonnes of jet fuel allegedly sold by Dan-Bunkering and delivered to Syria was crucial to the outcome of the war, reported Danish publication DR on Thursday (19 November).

“It is a war waged by the Russian side by controversial means. It is probably even in violation of certain international laws,” said Spildsboel. 

“This makes the sale of the jet fuel extremely controversial, and if the company is convicted, it has had a significant role in and a significant responsibility for the course of the war.” 

Denmark’s Public Prosecutor for Special Economic and International Crime (SØIK) in early November charged Bunker Holding and its subsidiary Dan- Bunkering, together with its Group CEO Keld R. Demant, for selling jet fuel to Russian companies, following which, delivered the jet fuel to Syria.  

SØIK alleged Dan-Bunkering sold about 172,000 metric tonnes of jet fuel to Russian companies over a series of 33 trades between 2015-2017, which is in violation of EU sanctions against Syria.

The transactions had a total value of DKK 647 million kroner (USD 102.4 million) and were delivered to various locations around the Mediterranean and eventually reached an unknown recipient in Port Banias, Syria.

In 2014, the EU placed sanctions against selling or supplying jet fuel to Syria in order to protect civilians against the violent conduct of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A year later in 2015, al-Assad made a formal request to Russia to conduct air strikes in order to support al-Assad’s regime. 

In DR’s report, Mikkel Storm Jensen, a military analyst at the Royal Danish Defense College estimated the 172,000 mt of jet fuel contributed to 34,000-35,000 flights.

Additionally, Russia’s Defense Minister was quoted by Russian news agency TASS stating the Russian Air Force conducted approximately 34,000 missions in Syria in the same period for two years until December 2017.

Jensen assessed that if the jet fuel had not been delivered, al-Assad would have probably lost the war, and therefore the sale of the fuel was crucial to the outcome of the war. 

A Danish state prosecutor is currently pressing for a custodial sentence for Bunker Holding group CEO Keld R. Demant over the alleged EU sanction breaches.

The state public prosecutor accused Bunker Holding and Demant for participating in the trades despite Demant having a “certain presumption” that the jet fuel would be going to Syria. 

In an official response to Singapore bunker publication Manifold Times regarding the above charges, Bunker Holding maintains it “continues to have full confidence in Keld R. Demant in his role as CEO of Bunker Holding and Chairman of the Board at Dan-Bunkering”.

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Related: Dan-Bunkering has not violated EU’s sanctions against Syria, it insists
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Related: Danish media alleges Dan-Bunkering jet fuel deliveries during Syria war 

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Published: 23 November, 2020

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