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Danish fuel trader convicted over exports to war-torn Syria

 Danish fuel supplier Bunker Holding, its chief executive and a subsidiary of the company were convicted by Odense city court on Tuesday for breaching international sanctions by selling jet fuel to war-torn Syria, court documents showed.

Bunker Holding, a fuel trader that is also one of the world's largest shipping fuel suppliers, together with its CEO and subsidiary Dan-Bunkering had been charged with breaking sanctions imposed by the European Union at the onset of the Syrian civil war.

A total of 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel worth about 647 million Danish crowns ($101 million) was sold in 33 trades between 2015 and 2017 to two Russian companies, with delivery in the eastern Mediterranean, the court documents said.

From its branch office in Kaliningrad, Dan-Bunkering had been behind all 33 trades, while Bunker Holding and its chief executive, Keld Rosenbaek Demant, had participated only in the last eight trades, the documents said.

Some of the trades had happened through ship-to-ship operations, where the fuel was transferred while the ships are side by side at sea.

The two Russian companies, acting as agents for the Russian navy, subsequently delivered the jet fuel to the Syrian port Banias, to be used by Russian air force in Syria for military operations, the court said.

"The majority of the judges found that T1 (Dan-Bunkering) for all 33 trades must have realised that it was overwhelmingly probable that the jet fuel would be used by the Russian military in Syria," the court document said.

The defence lawyer for Bunker Holding, Henrik Sanders, told Reuters the convicted parties will ask for time to consider the verdict and to decide whether to appeal.

CEO Demant was not available for comment while a spokesperson for Bunker Holding said the company planned to issue a statement later on Tuesday.

Dan-Bunkering was fined 30 million Danish crowns, roughly equivalent to double what was earned on the fuel trades, and had 15.65 million crowns of profit confiscated.

Bunker Holding was fined 4 million crowns and Demant was given a four-month suspended prison sentence.

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