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From the Court: Denmark - Supply of jet fuel to Syria

The Danish Court of Odense has ruled in criminal proceedings against two companies and a director for supplying a total of approximately 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel for use in Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

A Middelfart based company had supplied by a total of 33 transactions between October 2015 and May 2017 jet fuel for use in Syria, where a civil war was raging during the period. During an investigation, the company informed the Danish Business Authority that it had not been involved in the sale, transport of jet fuel, etc. or any other prohibited activities in relation to Syria. In all 33 transactions, with delivery in the Eastern Mediterranean, the jet fuel was sold to two Russian companies, each of which was a general agent for the Russian Navy. In all cases, the deals were concluded from the company's branch office in Kaliningrad, Russia. In some cases, the fuel had been transhipped in the open sea in so-called ship-to-ship operations. The court found that the Russian companies, after receiving the jet fuel from T1, had re-delivered the jet fuel at the Syrian port of Port Banias, whereupon the jet fuel had been used by the Russian Air Force for military operations in Syria. The Court found that the deliveries constituted objective violations of EU sanctions in relation to Syria. The company must have realised that it was overwhelmingly likely that the jet fuel would be used by the Russian military in Syria.

The Court of Appeal unanimously found that the mother company and the managing director had contributed to a negligent breach of the EU sanctions for the last 8 transactions. They should have realised, after the Danish Business Authority's approach in December 2016 and after an internal investigation within the group, that jet fuel was being supplied for use in Syria via the Russian company in breach of the EU sanctions, and that they could and should have stopped the transactions. The court imposed a fine of DKK 30 million on the company and DKK 4 million on its mother company. Both fines are calculated on the basis of the companies' profits from the trades. The Managing Director has been sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended. In addition, the company was ordered to forfeit the proceeds of the transactions, which the court estimated at approximately DKK 15.65 million. Source: Domstol (14 Dec 2021)

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