Swiss Company Investigated For Purchasing Fuel Illegally


Swiss authorities have launched formal investigations into a Swiss-based trading company, Kolmar. This has been accused of using Maltese fuel storage tanks to buy smuggled fuel from Libya, according to Malta Today.

The investigation has implications for Malta since it remains unknown how smuggled oil from Libya obtained customs clearance, to be stored in Enemed tanks.

The move follows a criminal 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 substantiated in a preliminary investigation.

Kolmar is believed to have accepted smuggled fuel from Libya, inside tanks leased from Enemed between 2014 and 2015. In order to resell at sea, and on 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. This was well before the Italian 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 chartered by Darren and Gordon Debono.

The fuel was accepted by the Malta Customs, despite fraudulent certificates of origin, and numerous protests from Libyan leaders about fuel being smuggled into Malta.

Kolmar purchased over 50,000 tonnes of gasoil from Libya, with the help of armed groups and a series of middlemen, and were diverted and stored in Malta.

Over 20 shipments of marine gasoil from Libya were delivered to Kolmar’s leased tanks in Malta between the spring of 2014 and the summer of 2015, from ships chartered by Gordon Debono.

The oil was then sold either out at sea from Kolmar’s supply barges. In Europe; duties and other taxes were paid, thus freeing Kolmar to blend the fuel with European products, to then sell it in Europe as an EU product.

Maltese Customs has insisted that since the imported fuel was refined and not crude oil, it was at the time legal to import to Malta.