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MALTATODAY 17 April 2022

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 17 APRIL 2022 NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The move follows a crimi- nal complaint handed in by TRIAL International, which was assisted by MaltaToday in obtaining information on the scale of fuel consignments held in Enemed tanks. The Swiss Attorney General said suspicions had been sub- stantiated in a preliminary in- vestigation. Swiss company Kolmar was accepting smuggled fuel from Libya inside tanks leased from Enemed between 2014 and 2015, to resell the oil at sea and the European market. The oil was acquired from the smuggling operation run by Libyan smuggler Fahmi Slim Ben Khalifa, and Maltese nationals Darren and Gordon Debono, well before the Ital- ian police caught up with the smuggling network in October 2017. TRIAL International and Public Eye used data from ship movements and information on bank payments, to show how tanks at Ras Ħanżir and Ħas Saptan were used to store oil delivered by the ships char- tered by Darren and Gordon Debono. But the fuel was accepted by the Malta Customs despite fraudulent certificates of or- igin, and numerous protests from Libyan leaders about fuel being smuggled into Malta. Kolmar purchased over 50,000 tonnes of gasoil from Libya in 2014 and 2015, which, with the help of armed groups and a series of middlemen, were diverted and stored in Malta. Over 20 shipments of marine gasoil from Libya were deliv- ered to Kolmar's leased tanks PRIOR to 2016, oil delivered by ships whose owners were targeted in Oper- ation Dirty Oil (Darren and Gordon Debono) was being delivered to Kol- mar, a Swiss company which rented out Enemed storage tanks for the fuel. The fuel originated from the Tiuboda company owned by Fahmi Ben Khalifa (later also arrested and connected to Operation Dirty Oil). Did Malta Customs clear these con- signments of oil delivered by the Amazigh F, Ruta and Selay to Kol- mar tanks at Enemed? Please confirm whether Customs validated these oil consignments? How did it clear oil which originated from Libya? In the specific case of the Tiuboda oil deliveries to Kolmar, how was Customs satisfied that these deliveries did not breach the oil embargo on Libya? Reply by Malta Customs "Deliveries did not breach the oil em- bargo on Libya because restrictive meas- ures were imposed on crude oil only – not refined oil – in January 2016 but these measures were extended on all pe- troleum products in August 2017. "In fact: Article 15, paragraph 1 of COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) 2016/44 of 18 January 2016 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situ- ation in Libya and repealing Regulation (EU) No 204/2011, outlined that: 'It shall be prohibited to load, transport or dis- charge crude oil from Libya on desig- nated vessels flying the flag of a Member State unless authorised by the compe- tent authority of that Member State af- ter consultation with the Government of Libya focal point.' "However the same article was amend- ed and replaced in COUNCIL REGU- LATION (EU) 2017/1419 of 4 August 2017 amending Regulation (EU) 2016/44 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, as follows: 'It shall be prohibited to load, transport or discharge petroleum, including crude oil and refined petroleum products from Libya on designated vessels flying the flag of a Member State unless author- ised by the competent authority of that Member State after consultation with the Government of Libya focal point.'; "Please note that no crude oil was ev- er imported in Malta and all other ship- ments you are referring to consisted of gas oil, not crude oil, covered with the required documentation." Smuggled Libya oil rubber- stamped by Customs because it was not crude Still facing charges for fuel smuggling in Syracuse: Darren Debono, Gordon Debono and Fahmi Bin Khalifa; the Americans think they know more about Mediterranean smuggling trade A copy of a Banif Bank statement for Oceano Blu Trading Ltd, a company linked to Darren Debono and based at his San Gwann address, shows that from 18 June to 22 July 2015, Kolmar made 11 transfers totalling over $11 million. Questions to Malta Customs from November 2020 Oceano Blu Trading was administered by the Sicilian Nicola Orazio Romeo, said to be a mafia associate, also indicted over fuel smuggling in Sicily

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