Keld Demant sentenced to prison as court finds Bunker Holdings guilty over Syria jet fuel trades

Danish fuel giant and one of the largest marine fuel suppliers, Bunker Holding, its subsidiary Dan-Bunkering, and chief executive officer Keld Demant were found guilty by Denmark’s Odense city court on Tuesday of breaching EU sanctions by supplying jet fuel for use in Syria, where a civil war was raging during the period.

According to the judgement seen by Splash, the court has fined Dan-Bunkering DKK30m ($4.6m) and Bunker Holding DKK4m ($609k), while Demant was given a four-month suspended prison sentence.

Dan-Bunkering was found to have sold a total of 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel in 33 trades between 2015 and 2017 to two Russian companies that were general agents for the Russian navy. The trades were concluded from Dan-Bunkering’s branch office in Kaliningrad, Russia, with deliveries to the eastern Mediterranean.

The two Russian companies subsequently delivered the jet fuel to the Syrian port of Banias, to be used by the Russian air force in Syria for military operations, the court said. Bunker Holding and Demant have been convicted of having facilitated eight of those trades.

“The majority of the judges found that T1 (Dan-Bunkering) for all 33 trades must have realised that it was overwhelmingly probable that the jet fuel would be used by the Russian military in Syria,” the court judgment stated.

Formal charges were brought against the trio in November last year. The prosecution argued that Dan-Bunkering should be fined DKK319m, corresponding to around half of the amount for which jet fuel had been sold, that Bunker Holding should be fined DKK81m and demanded a two-year imprisonment sentence for Demant. Reportedly, Demant’s sentence is conditional on a probationary period of one year. Dan-Bunkering’s profit of roughly DKK 15.5m has also been confiscated.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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