Dart shareholder hired hitman, broke sanctions & paid Tories £550,000Posted onOctober 22, 2012by columbo
Scotland driller Dart Energy is part-owned by oil conglomerate Vitol. Vitol executive Bob Finch (above) flew to Belgrade in 2001 and paid Serb war criminal Arkan $1m to intimidate a rival.
The company planning 22 Scottish coal bed methane gas wells – Dart Energy – has a dark secret. One of the company’s owners – Vitol – paid a Serbian war criminal $1m to enforce a business deal in 2001, broke Iraqi sanctions in 2007 and is being questioned over recent oil shipments to Iran. Vitol subsequently paid David Cameron’s Tory party £550,000.
Knightsbridge-based Vitol, which owns 16% of Dart Energy (along with 2 private equity groups) has often been mired in controversy. Yet as well as contracting known killers and breaking sanctions the company’s boss was part of David Cameron’s Leadership Group and has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to his party.
That party is forcing new gas infrastructure on the UK, largely owned by its friends. In a letter to the Energy Minister Ed Davey, Chancellor George Osborne demanded that ‘unabated gas’ formed a key part of UK energy strategy. In Airth, Scotland, Vitol’s investment is planning the UK’s largest unconventional gas development.
In 2001 Vitol hired a notorious Serb hitman – Arkan – to intimidate a businessman with whom Vitol had a deal to sell oil. After the deal soured, a court ordered Vitol to pay the businessman $2m. The company then hired Arkan to ‘visit’ the the businessman. He subsequently signed a new agreement to set aside the court decision. As a reward for his services, Arkan demanded a $1 million fee.
Senior Exectuve Bob Finch later confirmed the company’s dealings with the warlord.
Six years later Vitol’s Chief Executive Ian Taylor pleaded guilty to first degree grand larceny after paying $13 million in ‘secret kickbacks’ to the Iraqi government in exchange for oil under the United Nations’ oil-for-food program. They were fined a total of $17.5 million ($13 million in restitution to the Development Fund for Iraq).
The company has also been questioned on breaking the oil embargo against Iran.
More recently it emerged that the company’s boss had given £550,000 to the Conservative government. Taylor was a guest at a dinner party with David Cameron in his Downing Street flat last November. Weeks after the private dinner it emerged that the Foreign Office had brokered a deal for Vitol to supply oil to rebel forces in Libya opposed to Colonel Gaddafi.
According to Channel 4′s Dispatches, Taylor was part of David Cameron’s Leaders Group which donated more than £50 million to the Tory party between 2005 & 2008.
Vitol has close links with others in the Tory party – once employing senior Tory Alan Duncan as a consultant.