Vitol takes legal action against inaccurate and defamatory statements made by Public Eye
Lawyers acting on behalf of Vitol SA (Vitol) have today written to Public Eye requiring a retraction of the inaccurate and defamatory statements regarding Vitol made by Public Eye in its publication “The ‘Paradise Papers’ Switzerland and Commodities” and the associated press release, which infringe Vitol’s rights under Swiss law.
Gerard Delsad, Managing Director of Vitol SA said: “Vitol is fully supportive of the important role many NGOs play in public life. Regrettably Public Eye’s use of unsubstantiated and inaccurate allegations falls short of the high standards most NGOs hold themselves to.”
Contrary to many of Public Eye’s assertions, the facts in relation to Vitol and recent allegations pertaining to the Paradise Papers are:
- Vitol has never entered into a contract with Mr Kola Aluko
- Vitol entered into a commercial arrangement with Seven Energy in 2015. Seven Energy’s employment of Mr Aluko ended in 2012
- At the point at which Vitol entered into a commercial arrangement with Seven Energy (2015) its largest equity holders included major international institutions and internationally respected investors
- Vitol is not under investigation nor is it the subject of any criminal proceeding by the Geneva Public Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the matters described in Public Eye’s report
- The details that have emerged from the Paradise Papers provide no evidence of any “dealings with dodgy individuals or politically exposed partners in order to get hold of commodities and secure contracts on highly favourable terms” in respect of Vitol
- The details that have emerged from the Paradise Papers provide no evidence of any “aggressive tax policies, suspicions of corruption and conflicts of interest” in respect of Vitol nor evidence of Vitol devising “offshore schemes through which companies have been able to conceal business relationships associated with serious risks of corruption or conflicts of interest“
The information pertaining to Seven Energy is publicly available on their website and in the documentation relating to the listing of their Senior Secured Notes in November 2014.
Vitol is an energy and commodities company; its primary business is the trading and distribution of energy products globally – it trades over seven million barrels per day of crude oil and products and, at any time, has 250 ships transporting its cargoes.
Vitol’s clients include national oil companies, multinationals, leading industrial and chemical companies and the world’s largest airlines. Founded in Rotterdam in 1966, today Vitol serves clients from some 40 offices worldwide and is invested in energy assets globally including: circa 18mm3 of storage across six continents, 480kbpd of refining capacity and 5,000 service stations across Africa, Australia, Eurasia and in Northwest Europe. Revenues in 2016 were $152 billion.