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New report links Kiir to Singapore-based company over arms dealing

South Sudanese members of prisoners of war and political detainees holding hands after their release in Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)
South Sudan President Salva Kiir attends a South Sudan peace meeting as part of talks to negotiate an end to a civil war that broke out in 2013, in Khartoum, Sudan June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

November 19th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been linked by a new report to arms dealing involving a Singapore-based company, according to Bloomberg.

Trafigura’s head of oil trading, Jose Larocca, was sent an invitation letter in 2017, from Kiir’s office which referenced discussions between the trading house and the alleged arms dealer Israel Ziv, Public Eye – a Swiss NGO – said in a report on Monday.

Ziv, a retired Israeli Major General, was sanctioned by the U.S. in December 2018 for his involvement in South Sudan’s civil war and allegedly using an agricultural consultancy to conceal selling weapons to Sudanese rebels and government forces worth $150 million.

“Under a contractual agreement, Trafigura provided pre-payments to the RSS Government. All pre-payments were made into bank accounts of the Central Bank of South Sudan. Trafigura sought to follow UN guidelines regarding the remittance of the crude oil prepayments,” the company said in the statement.

A letter, which was included in the report published by Public Eye and dated Aug. 28, 2017, says Trafigura had contact with Ziv. The author references discussions with “Mr. Israel Ziv whom I believe is currently engaged in further discussions with Trafigura on various areas of investment and interest in South Sudan.”

A South Sudan government staffer from Kiir’s office invites Mr. Larocca to come to South Sudan to meet the country’s ministers of finance and petroleum and “if the schedule allows, pay courtesy call on His Excellency the President of the Republic.”

In its sanctions notice issued in December, the U.S. Treasury Department alleged that in South Sudan “Ziv has been paid through the oil industry and has had close collaboration with a major multinational oil firm.”

Public Eye also reported on Monday that Trafigura has filed a lawsuit in London against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and The Central Bank of South Sudan but it was not immediately clear why.

Oil pre-payment deals, where traders loan funds to governments, national oil companies or producers, to be repaid later in crude oil, are common practice in the commodities trading sector.

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