Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Trafigura scrutinised over South Sudan arms-for-cash link

The Sentry has written extensively about alleged corruption in South Sudan
The Sentry has written extensively about alleged corruption in South Sudan

Trafigura’s work in South Sudan involved connections with an Israeli middleman who went on to be sanctioned by the US for aiding the conflict, a Swiss NGO has claimed in a new report.

Trafigura has denied wrongdoing. The Public Eye NGO has released two letters linking the oil trader to Israel Ziv, who the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on in December 2018. The reason behind the sanctions were that Ziv, along with other men, had “undermined peace, stability, and security in South Sudan”.

The first letter was dated January 2016 and noted the payment of $45 million to a bank account in the name of ZIVHG Ltd, while another $35mn went to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. This was based, the letter from an undersecretary in the Ministry of Finance said, on a loan agreement between the government of South Sudan and Trafigura. Public Eye named the beneficiary of ZIVHG as Ziv.

This cash appears to be linked to a prepayment from Trafigura, Public Eye said. The payment to ZIVHG contradicts the 2015 peace agreement between the government in Juba and its opponents, led by Riek Machar, the former vice president.

The payment to ZIVHG was in support of an agricultural project known as Green Horizon.

A report to the United Nations in April this year noted Trafigura’s role in South Sudan’s oil industry. This calculated that the government had received just under $400mn from commodity traders in 2017-18. Commenting on the Green Horizons case, the UN report cited Trafigura as saying it had made the pre-payment directly to the revenue account of the government of South Sudan. While the company knew some of the money would go to Green Horizon, “Trafigura was not a partner in the project”.

Public Eye disclosed a second letter apparently from a South Sudanese official to Trafigura’s head of the oil division Jose Larocca in August 2017. The letter asked the Trafigura executive to come to South Sudan, saying that this followed discussions with Ziv who was “currently engaged” in discussions with the trader on “various areas of investment and interest” in the country.

According to the UN report, the trader retained L.I.O. Ziv Ltd to assist in managing the crude trade it carried out with the Juba government. This ended in May 2017. It went on to quote Trafigura as saying it was “entirely separate commercial arrangement and was unconnected with any other activities of Israel Ziv and related companies in South Sudan”.

Ziv is said to have supplied arms and ammunition to both the government of South Sudan and the opposition, according to OFAC. He used an agricultural company as a front for the sale of around $150mn worth of weapons and was “paid through the oil industry and has had close collaboration with a major multinational oil firm”. The US government did not name the firm in question.

The OFAC report also noted talk that Ziv had hired mercenaries to attack South Sudanese oilfields and infrastructure “in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve”.

This is not the first time the company has been linked to Israel Ziv. A report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) group in July quoted the former head of the Israeli Defence Forces’ Operational Directorate as having consulted with Trafigura on managing crude trade with the South Sudanese government.

The OCCRP said at least $140mn had been transferred to Global CST, another company linked to Ziv, which originated as pre-payments from Trafigura to the central bank. This “nearly matches the $150mn worth of arms the [US] Treasury Department said Global CST’s owner sold to the government”. The OCCRP went on to note that there was no evidence that Trafigura knew that the cash might go to pay for alleged arms deals. Ziv has denied having any involvement in the purchase of weapons, saying OFAC had been misled and he has applied for sanctions to be removed.

While the UN report writers visited one of the Green Horizon sites, and found agricultural work under way, OCCRP raised concerns about the efficacy of the work.

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts