Danish prosecutors demand prison over company’s fuel sales to Syria

Danish prosecutors on Tuesday requested a 54-million-euro fine against a company accused of violating an EU fuel embargo against Syria, as well as two years' jail for its chief executive.

A call for a $61-million penalty against Danish company Dan-Bunkering was made at Odense Court on November 30th over fuel sales to Syria.
A call for a $61-million penalty against Danish company Dan-Bunkering was made at Odense Court on November 30th over fuel sales to Syria. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

The call for the $61-million penalty against Dan-Bunkering comes during the company’s trial for the sale of around 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel to Russian firms in 33 transactions between 2015 and 2017.

That fuel was delivered to Syria where it was used in Russian air force planes fighting in the country’s civil war.

“The seriousness of the violation is clear from the fact that the fuel filled the tanks of Russian fighters, which bombed the opposition against (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad in his name,” prosecutor Anders Rechendorff told the court in Odense.

Keld Demant, the chief executive of Dan-Bunkering’s parent company Bunker Holding, is the target of prosecutor’s demand for a jail term.

Both companies and the boss have pleaded not guilty, saying they had no control over what their customers — themselves not under sanctions — did with the fuel.

But Rechendorff said Demant had not taken due care when reading information about dealing with Russian firms in 2016.

“Even negligence can be grounds for a conviction, and the accused should have examined what was going on much more thoroughly,” he said.

The 647 million kroner (87 million euros) brought in by the fuel sales amounted to around two percent of the company’s revenue in 2015-17.

EU sanctions in force since 2011 against the Syrian regime include a fuel embargo and the freezing of the Damascus central bank’s assets held in the EU.

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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.