Lebanon Businessnews News

Local oil company blacklisted by the EU
Millions of oil barrels illegally sold to Syria
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The European Union (EU) has frozen the accounts of a Lebanese oil company, ‘Overseas Petroleum Trading’ (OPT).  The freeze is part of the EU’s enforcement of trade sanctions on any individual or company it believes is supporting the regime in Syria, a country blacklisted by the Western powers.

The EU claims the oil company is supporting and benefitting from the regime based on its alleged covert oil shipments to that country.  OPT’s assets will be frozen in the 28-nation EU. “There are many countries dealing with Syria in the black market, including Turkey, and Italy,” said Bashir Bassatne a member of the Oil Importers Association. He said Lebanon no longer re-exports oil to Syria after strong warnings from US authorities.

OPT is still registered in official records since 2001, but answering under the name Airgo Airlines. “The EU report is all lies. OPT has ceased operations in Lebanon for at least two years now,” said an Egyptian man who answered OPT’s telephone line but refused to provide his name or title.
AirGo is a new Egyptian airline that offers scheduled and chartered services with a small fleet of A320-200 aircraft. OPT is owned by Abdelhamid Khamis Ahmad Abdalla 66.67 percent, Osmat Nazem Saab 23.33 percent and Akram Sami Saab 10 percent, according to the Lebanese Commercial Register.
Allegedly, OPT arranged the shipments with Syria's internationally blacklisted state-owned oil company, Sytrol. Reuters news organization said it saw documents showing the firm invoicing Sytrol for almost $250 million for two deliveries of Iraqi crude it had arranged in March and May 2013 to Syria's Banias refinery.

Reported by Hadi Khatib
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Date Posted: Jul 30, 2014