Vitol faces questions on trade with Iran Emily Gosden 26 Sep 2012
Vitol, the oil trader whose chief executive is a Tory donor, bought Iranian oil products, undermining Western efforts to stem Iran’s trade through sanctions.
Vitol ceased all purchases from Iran at the end of July
The company, run by Ian Taylor, admitted it had allowed its Bahraini subsidiary to buy a cargo of fuel oil of Iranian origin in July - after the EU had imposed sanctions on Iranian oil trades.
Neither Vitol, as a Swiss company, nor its Bahraini arm were bound by the sanctions, so both were legally entitled to buy the cargo. However, Swiss-based peers such as Glencore voluntarily stopped all Iranian purchases by July.
Vitol said: “At the time of purchase it did not contravene any applicable sanctions.” The company ceased all purchases from Iran at the end of July when the US introduced further sanctions that could have applied to its trades.
Vitol chief Mr Taylor is a significant Tory donor, who has dined with David Cameron at Downing Street. On Wednesday night a Tory spokesman said all donations complied with Electoral Commission rules.
But Vitol was accused of “immoral” trade and “backing corrupt regimes” by John Mann MP, a Labour member of the Treasury Select Committee, who demanded that the Tory party hand back the “dirty money” it had received from Mr Taylor.