Danish company in court for violating EU Syria sanctions

A Danish fuel supplier went on trial Tuesday, accused of violating EU sanctions against Syria by delivering fuel used by Russian warplanes in the war-torn country.

Odense Court, where a case against a Danish company accused of breaking EU sanctions to sell fuel to Syria begins on October 26th.
Odense Court, where a case against a Danish company accused of breaking EU sanctions to sell fuel to Syria begins on October 26th. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

Dan-Bunkering, through its subsidiary in Russia’s Kaliningrad, sold about 172,000 tonnes of fuel to two Russian companies between 2015 and 2017, prosecutors say. 

The fuel was then delivered to Syria.

As the trial opened in Odense in central Denmark, prosecutor Anders Dyrvig Rechendorff told AFP that he was seeking a jail sentence for Dan-Bunkering’s chief executive and fines for the company. 

Defence lawyers declined to comment, but Dan-Bunkering has previously said it expects to be acquitted.

“We are convinced we did not sell fuel to companies that were subject to EU sanctions at the time of the trade,” it said in a statement ahead of the trial.

Dan-Bunkering insists it acted in good faith and that the Russian companies which supplied fuel to the Russian military were not subject to EU sanctions.

The transactions totalled 647 million Danish kroner (87 million euros), or just under two percent of the company’s revenues for the period from 2015 until 2017.

According to media reports, Dan-Bunkering’s business partner was the Russian company Maritime, responsible for supplying fuel to Russian military aircraft in Syria.

EU sanctions against the Syrian regime came into force in late 2011 and have been extended until June 1st, 2022. They include an oil embargo and a freeze on assets held by the Syrian central bank in the EU. 

No similar cases of violations of the Syria embargo have been brought before the courts of member countries, according to the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust).

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Denmark jails IS ‘wife’ for three years

A 35-year-old Danish woman was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for entering Syria and promoting the Islamic State (IS) group's activities, prosecutors in Denmark said.

Denmark jails IS 'wife' for three years

During the mother of five’s trial, the prosecutor had argued that wives were a key part of IS.

“Even if you did not actively participate in the fighting, we assert that you can support the terrorist organisation by shopping in its supermarkets, by taking care of the children, by being a housewife,” prosecutor Trine Schjodt
Fogh said.

The woman, who pleaded guilty, was convicted of “having promoted the activities of IS, in particular by acting as the housewife and wife of a person who was active in the terrorist organisation,” the prosecution authority said in a statement.

She was also found guilty of having “entered and resided in al-Raqqa district in Raqqa province and Deir al-Zour province in Syria, which were defined as conflict zones during the period”.

The  woman, who is originally from the west of Denmark, arrived in Syria eight years ago, a journey she “bitterly” regrets, her lawyer Mette Gith Stage told news agency Ritzau.

“The last few years have been difficult for her, first in the caliphate, then in a prison camp and now in prison. She misses her children terribly and is eager for the case to end so that she and her children can move on,” the
lawyer said.

In October 2021, Denmark removed three women and 14 children from the Kurdish-controlled Roj camp in north-eastern Syria in a joint operation with Germany.

The three women were arrested on arrival in Denmark and have since been in detention and the trial that just ended marks the first of three.