Demant to Remain Bunker Holding CEO as Dan-Bunkering Declines to Appeal Sanctions Verdict

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday December 29, 2021

Dan-Bunkering, its parent company Bunker Holding and CEO Keld Demant will not appeal their conviction in Denmark earlier this month for breaching EU sanctions against Syria.

Demant was sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence, Dan-Bunkering was fined DKK 30 million ($4.6 million), as well as having profits of DKK 15 million confiscated, and Bunker Holding was fined DKK 4 million in the verdict announced on December 14 after the case was heard at a court in Odense

The defendants had been accused of EU sanctions breaches over 33 jet fuel deals with Russian counterparties in 2015-2017 where the oil allegedly ended up in Syria.

"Through the entire case the companies have expected to be acquitted so we are surprised by the verdict," Klaus Nyborg, vice chairman of Bunker Holding's board of directors, said in the statement.

"However, we have decided not to appeal the ruling because we want to put an end to the case.

"From the outset we have taken the accusations very seriously and we accept the outcome of the legal proceedings."

Keld Demant's position with the company will remain unchanged, with both Bunker Holding's board and its owner, Torben Østergaard-Nielsen, expressing their support.

"Keld R Demant has the full and unchanged support of the board of directors and the ownership and will continue as the CEO of Bunker Holding," Nyborg said.

Østergaard-Nielsen said Bunker Holding must learn from the case.

"It is a core value for me and the entire Bunker Holding group that we act with decency in everything we do," he said in the statement.

"I regard this entire case and the fact that the court reached the conclusion that EU sanctions have been breached with the utmost gravity.

"This case simply does not reflect the values or the culture that we stand for and that we are known for.

"It has obviously been a serious matter for Dan-Bunkering and Bunker Holding, but certainly also for me personally.

"Bunker Holding is the world's largest bunker company, and as such we have an obligation to take the lead in compliance and set the highest standards for ourselves to ensure that the company at all times abides by all trade sanctions."

In Wednesday's statement Bunker Holding said it had made improvements to its processes since 2017 "to ensure that the group's compliance procedures function optimally."

But during the case it emerged that Bunker Holding's chief legal officer had repeatedly raised concerns over the jet fuel trades with several senior managers, saying "we can not take that risk." Any change in compliance procedures aimed at avoiding similar circumstances in future will need to address why those warnings were not heeded.