GENEVA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Swiss companies Mezcor SA, Tridax SA, and Lynear SA issue the following statements in response to claims made by Sahara Reports in the article, “How Diezani Laundered Looted Money, Her Accomplices Revealed,” published October 5, 2015:
1. The claims and implications of the Sahara article are erroneous, and its innuendo misleading, in virtually every regard, and reiterate almost verbatim unfounded rumors previously put forward.
2. The Swiss companies (Mezcor SA, Tridax SA, and Lynear SA) published a lengthy rebuttal of these claims in the Swiss newspaper “Le Temps” on April 8, 2014, and reissued the same rebuttal on November 20, 2015 (Business Wire).
3. The ownership structure of these companies have been fully disclosed and formally audited from inception in 2011. At no time has any Nigerian company or person, directly or indirectly, owned any part of the Swiss companies, as claimed by Sahara Reporters. At no time has Turicum Private Bank owned any part of the structure, as claimed by Sahara Reporters. The Sahara article intentionally inverts the ownership structure and mischaracterizes what is plainly evident in public company records.
4. The Sahara article speculates that Tridax is suspicious because the firm’s “corporate structures stretch outside Nigeria.” This statement is disingenuous as virtually every sale of crude oil from Nigeria involves companies with an “international structure” of some sort. The list of allocation holders contains many international companies. This is common in the oil and gas business, and not improper in any respect.
5. The Sahara article also finds suspicious that “The NNPC, which awards these contracts, also awarded a contract to Mezcor SA and two companies it worked with—India Oil Company and Fujairah Refinery.” However, it is commonly known that IOC and Fujairah Refinery are two of the larger buyers of crude oil in the region, purchasing dozens of crude cargos every month. They are big companies, independently owned and operated. That NNPC agrees to sell crude oil to two large buyers of crude oil in the world is neither surprising nor suspicious – and certainly has nothing to do with the fact that Mezcor was also, amongst 38 other companies, an allocation holder.
6. As stated in the Swiss companies rebuttal and elsewhere, neither Mr. Joanes nor Mr. Levinson had ever heard of, or met, or know anything about any relative of the former Petroleum Minister referenced in the article or otherwise. Messrs. Joanes and Levinson always dealt directly and face-to-face with NNPC officials responsible for crude oil exports in their respective offices at the NNPC Towers in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as is normal and customary.
7. Neither Mezcor SA, Lynear SA nor Tridax SA is a “letterbox” company. The companies on their own account purchase and sell crude oil and petroleum products, and perform contracts, trading, charter of vessels, and shipping operations with the same diligence and professionalism as much larger counterparts.
8. Neither the Swiss companies nor Messrs. Joanes or Levinson were contacted by Sahara Reporters before publication of the article.