A/S United Shipping & Trading Company, the parent firm of group company Bunker Holding A/S, on Wednesday (29 December) released a statement indicating its decision not to appeal the verdict against its entities which were indicted of having breached EU sanctions in Syria:
In the judgement that was delivered on December 14th in the city court of Odense, the court found that Dan-Bunkering’s Russian branch should have known that the company’s Russian clients would likely use the fuel in violation of EU sanctions against Syria. The court also found that Bunker Holding and its CEO had acted with unintentional negligence in regard to trades made in the spring of 2017. The court did not find that the companies had acted with direct intent to violate EU sanctions or that Bunker Holding and its CEO had acted intentionally to breach EU sanctions.
Bunker Holding, Keld R. Demant and Dan-Bunkering acknowledge the decision of the court and have decided not to appeal the verdict.
Putting an end to a complicated case
“Through the entire case the companies have expected to be acquitted so we are surprised by the verdict. However, we have decided not to appeal the ruling because we want to put an end to the case. From the outset we have taken the accusations very seriously and we accept the outcome of the legal proceedings”, says Klaus Nyborg, vice chairman of the board of directors at Bunker Holding.
This is a very complicated case, which is also reflected in the fact that the judges were not able to reach consensus on Dan-Bunkering’s level of intent.
The judgement shows that it is no longer sufficient to screen trades against direct counterparties. Rather it points out the need to check your customers counterparts, even including several links downstream, in order to control the usage of the product being sold.
Comprehensive compliance system and procedures
Bunker Holding has traded in oil products to global customers for more than 40 years and is today the world’s largest bunker company. Since the company was founded, Bunker Holding and subsidiaries have operated in accordance with international sanctions and continuously expanded its capabilities as the requirements for sanctions compliance have increased. In the latter years the development and expansion of the company’s compliance system and procedures have been intensified significantly and Bunker Holding’s compliance system is today regarded among the best in the shipping industry.
The system checks more than 100,000 trades per year against international sanctions lists and media information while using Big Data and artificial intelligence to follow sailing patterns and the use of AIS trackers. Based on this, the system flags specific trades and can stop trades if it identifies unusual trading and payment patterns.
Since 2017 Bunker Holding has strengthened and centralised its global compliance team to ensure that the group’s compliance procedures function optimally. Bunker Holding has also further expanded its internal compliance training program for all employees in the group. Everyone undergoes annual mandatory training and newly hired traders must complete intensive onboarding training when joining the company. The compliance department also conducts training tailored for the specific needs of local offices based on their trading patterns and customers.
In the verdict, which is the first sanctions case brought against the company in its more than 40-years history, none of the counterparties that Dan-Bunkering were involved with has ever been on the EU’s sanctions list. As a result, the verdict highlights how difficult it has become to navigate international sanctions and underlines the importance of continuously improving internal training, systems and monitoring.
Strong support from customers and business partners also after the verdict
Bunker Holding and Dan-Bunkering have experienced continued strong and unchanged support from customers, suppliers, banks, and credit insurance companies as well as confidence in the compliance system and procedures that Bunker Holding has built over the years. The group’s compliance set-up is regularly evaluated and validated by external, international experts in the field.
Full trust in CEO
Contrary to Bunker Holding’s expectations, CEO Keld R. Demant received a suspended sentence for acting with unintentional negligence. The court did not find that he had acted with direct intent or intentionally had acted in breach of EU sanctions. Keld R. Demant accepts the verdict and has decided not to appeal.
“Keld R. Demant has the full and unchanged support of the board of directors and the ownership and will continue as the CEO of Bunker Holding”, says Klaus Nyborg. Torben Østergaard-Nielsen, chairman of the board of directors at Bunker Holding and co-owner of the company, also expresses his full support of Keld R. Demant.
We must learn from this case
For Torben Østergaard-Nielsen it is crucial that everyone within Bunker Holding learns from the case.
“It is a core value for me and the entire Bunker Holding group that we act with decency in everything we do. I regard this entire case and the fact that the court reached the conclusion that EU sanctions have been breached with the utmost gravity. This case simply does not reflect the values or the culture that we stand for and that we are known for. It has obviously been a serious matter for Dan-Bunkering and Bunker Holding, but certainly also for me personally. Bunker Holding is the world’s largest bunker company, and as such we have an obligation to take the lead in compliance and set the highest standards for ourselves to ensure that the company at all times abides by all trade sanctions”, says Torben Østergaard-Nielsen.
Note: Earlier Manifold Times coverage regarding Bunker Holding/Dan-Bunkering’s breaches of EU sanctions can be found below:
Related: Statement regarding the city court of Odense’s ruling against Dan-Bunkering, Bunker Holding and CEO
Related: Dan-Bunkering, Bunker Holding and CEO guilty of Syria sanctions violations; fined USD 5.17 million in total
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
Photo credit: Bunker Holding
Published: 29 December, 2021
Firm hopes to leverage partnership in Greece as a springboard to expand into neighbouring and overseas markets including Europe and China, says Robin Van Elderen, Regional Head Bunkers, Europe, Sing Fuels.
Singapore can help less developed countries in SouthEast Asia through ‘piloting and scaling fuels and technology as well as a leading hub for green finance’, said DNV Group President and CEO Remi Eriksen.
Octamar™ Ultra HF, Octamar™ Complete, and Octamar™ F35C were found to have improved the fuel economy while reducing exhaust gas and other emissions of marine engines in a series of trials, states report.
Disposal of evidence has resulted in Singapore not being able to provide full details to the United Nationals Panel of Experts which sought information regarding the case, says Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
‘We are proud to be amongst the first to show the successful steps taken by Singapore’s bunkering ecosystem to remain forward thinking and relevant,’ Choong Sheen Mao, Director of EMF, tells Manifold Times.
‘With the launch of a common data infrastructure, Kenoil aims to continue achieving an end to end visibility and transparency on the bunker data supply chain,’ states Kenoil Managing Director.