Trafigura’s toxic history
Frank Sammut, better known as Karola by his teammates during his time in the 1970s as a discreet goalkeeper for Exiles waterpolo club, is facing accusations that he took commission from the Trafigura oil company registered in Holland in relation to oil procurement.
It is alleged this was paid through a Swiss bank account whose beneficiary was a Gibraltar company owned by Sammut.
It is also alleged that businessman George Farrugia played a pivotal role in Enemalta’s oil procurement decisions, while oil commodities companies Total and Trafigura worked closely with Enemalta’s top officials, the former MOBC chief Sammut and Farrugia himself.
In recently revealed correspondence, Trafigura’s Naeem Ahmed, the employee based in UK, appears to tell Farrugia: “As promised I have tried to increase the commission rates, I have been unsuccessful, so for all business for 2004 commissions it must remain 10 per cent and will only increase to 15 per cent for all new business for 2005”.
These sums were allegedly deposited in Farrugia’s Swiss bank account in the Banque Privée Edmond de Rotschild in Geneva.
Who are Trafigura? The oil procurement case in Malta is not the first scandal they have been involved in.
They are involved in the Probo Koala case, where Trafigura dumped toxic waste in Ivory Coast.
In 2010, they were fined €1 million in The Netherlands for the illegal export of the waste through Amsterdam. Claude Dauphin, who is in charge of Trafigura, avoided a personal court case through a settlement in which he agreed to pay a €67,000 fine. Greenpeace NL and Amnesty International wrote an extensive report about the Proko Koala scandal: http://issuu.com/greenpeaceinternational/docs/the-toxic-truth/1.
Malta is mentioned as well in this scandal, since part of the generation of the toxic waste on board the ship in 2006 seems to have taken place in Maltese waters.
In fact, between April and June 2006 three shipments of coker naphtha were washed aboard the ship Probo Koala in different parts of the Mediterranean.
In April of 2006 Trafigura tried to offload the waste in Malta, without success, thanks also to the responsibility of the officials at the Malta shipyards who told Trafigura: “Sorry not even Malta shipyards can accept these slops due to chemical content”. At the end the toxic waste was offloaded in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Trafigura Beheer BV is officially registered in the Netherlands. But in reality Trafigura is a complicated corporate structure. Trafigura Beheer BV in Amsterdam/Amstelveen is mainly a fiscal address. Trafigura’s centres of operations are in London and Switzerland. Co-founder Dauphin is chairman of Trafigura Beheer BV and CEO of the London subsidiary, Trafigura Ltd.
The Dutch public prosecutor is investigating bribery claims in relation to Dauphin in Jamaica, but the probe is progressing very slowly.
In Jamaica, Trafigura is accused of bribing the Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, PNP chairman Robert Pickersgill, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell, former Information Minister Colin Campbell and businessman Norton Hinds. The ruling PNP party had said the money was a donation but Trafigura claimed it was payment on a commercial agreement. In the meantime, Campbell resigned his post as minister and general secretary of the PNP when the Trafigura scandal broke in 2006.
How much has Trafigura interfered in Maltese politics? We do not know.
Malta Today has now claimed that the Maltese tent rental company MFCC has been giving hundreds of thousands of euros in services to the Nationalist Party. Both the PN and the MFCC have refuted these allegations.
And in a Sunday Times interview, former PL Deputy Leader Anġlu Farrugia stated that Muscat’s Labour Party is close to big business interests.
Interestingly, however, Maltese parliamentarians recently unanimously agreed to remove a €1.2 million guarantee imposed on the MFCC tent company run by PN stalwart Nazzareno Vassallo, and on another prominent company. Labour’s Karmenu Vella was chairman of one of the subsidiaries of this company.
Why is Parliament depriving the Maltese people of such guarantees?
These questions will never be answered unless Alternattiva Demokratika is voted into Parliament. AD is needed in Parliament not only because of our credibility and consistency, our responsible and doable proposals, but also because we are the only ones who can check the arrogance of the two parties who have institutionalised the ‘winner takes all’ mentality for the past 50 years. You know where we stand with us.
Arnold Cassola is Alternattiva Demokratika spokesman on EU and international affairs.