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Way down deep in the middle of the Congo

Posted on April 12, 2013 by

We haven’t heard any more from Ian Taylor’s lawyers yet. But in a surprising development never previously observed on the internet, his attempt to silence various pro-independence voices appears to have resulted in people digging deeper into the affairs of Vitol, the oil-trading company of which he’s been Chief Executive since 1995.

barbra

One particularly interesting revelation that we don’t think was covered in any of the earlier articles relates to the company’s conduct in the Republic of the Congo, where they got up to shenanigans a little shadier than simply drinking all the Um Bongo.

The following is an extract from Hansard (the official record of the UK Parliament) in 2009, discovered by the Yes campaign’s Kevin Pringle. For full background you can read the entire piece here, but the paragraphs below comprise the section dealing with Vitol. All emphases are ours.

—————————————————————————————————–

“Our internal deal-churning factory”: active complicity in the offshore marketing scheme by a UK-registered international oil trader?

64.  According to estimates by Kensington, a creditor of Congo, since 2002, international oil trader Vitol has purchased nearly US$3 billion of oil from Congo. Evidence and testimony from the Nordic Hawk case and subsequent cross-examination of Ike Nwobodo, the trader at the centre of the Sphynx marketing scheme, suggest that Vitol companies registered in the UK, and top Vitol employees based in London actively assisted Congo, post the November 2005 judgment, to maintain its opaque offshore marketing scam by creating two purpose-built shell vehicles (Vitol Bahrain and Global Oil Trading Mauritius) to buy oil.

65.  Kensington took out several court actions against Vitol in Geneva and London in 2006-07 on the basis that it was helping Congo to avoid paying its creditors. On 26 May 2006, a UK High Court judgment found in Kensington’s favour: “there is evidence that Vitol Group (that is, Vitol Broking, Vitol Services, Vitol SA and other companies in the Vitol Group) […] has played a role and a significant role in the dishonest judgment-proofing scheme”.

The judgment refers to documentary evidence including emails between Vitol employees and Ike Nwobodo referring to the setting up of shell companies by the Vitol Group to buy from a new Gokana offshore vehicle, Phenicia: “[Vitol] agreed to deal with Phenicia without question and promptly changed its own practice by creating a new vehicle through which to buy the Congo’s oil, Global Oil Trader Mauritius (`GOTM’)”.

66.  In one particular email of 21 February 2006 to Nwobodo, a Vitol employee, Giles Chautard, refers to routing offshore sales through “our internal deal churning factory here”. The judge finds that “structuring the oil sales with the use of new companies to replace earlier entities, Mr Chautard [a Vitol oil trader] and his colleague Mr Lambrosa [Chief financial officer of the Vitol Group], and thus the Vitol UK Companies and the Vitol Group, must have appreciated that the purpose of using these vehicles was in order to prevent detection by the Congo’s judgment creditors of the oil sales”.

Payments made by Vitol to Congolese officials via offshore vehicles?

67.  What is of even greater concern to Global Witness are allegations made by Kensington against Vitol that corrupt payments were made via a Vitol-owned offshore vehicle called Peakville into the Hong Kong bank account of Long Beach Limited, the Anguilla shell company belonging to the President of Congo’s son and head of the marketing branch of SNPC, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso.

68.  On 15 January 2007, Don Shwarzkopf, a consultant for Kensington, alleged in an affidavit that:

“[T]here appear to be only two credible alternative explanations for the payments by Peakville and Vitol SA into the Long Beach account. Either these constitute monies paid to and held by Congo for its own convenience, to be hidden from creditors ….; or, put candidly, they are corrupt kickbacks or rake-offs in return for the placing of valuable business with Vitol ….”

69.  If Kensington’s allegations are correct—this accusation was not finally resolved due to Kensington settling its dispute with Congo—then it raises further disturbing questions regarding the use of offshore sales structures.

70.  On 7 November 07 three appeals by Vitol were dismissed in the UK High Court arising out of various proceedings brought by Kensington. Two of the appeals related to restraining orders on oil purchases from Congo or orders to disclose information about specific sales, while the third related to a court order for the UK Vitol companies and Vitol employees “to disclose certain information relating to payments said to have been made in Hong Kong by or on behalf of Vitol S.A. to employees or representatives of the Congo by way of bribes”.

The Vitol companies and employees had resisted disclosure of information related to these payments by claiming privilege against self-incrimination under the Fraud Act, which applies when “there are real grounds for thinking that the information [the person] is being asked to provide, or the documents he is being asked to disclose, are such as would tend to incriminate him”.

71.  The Appeal hearing thus upheld the findings of Justice Gross in July 2007, who characterized Vitol’s case as follows:

      “Faced with such accusations, an obvious response of a reputable trader might well involve an indignant root and branch factual refutation of the allegations in question, perhaps coupled with an expressed willingness to assist the judgment creditor so far as it was able to do so. That, however, is not the stance adopted by the Third Parties [Vitol].
      To the contrary, while resolutely making no admissions to any of the allegations made by Mr. Schwarzkopf, the entire thrust of the Third Parties’ case is that those allegations could, if proved, amount to criminal conduct under the laws of this country. They go on to assert the privilege against self-incrimination pursuant to section 14 of the Civil Evidence Act 1968″.

  72.  Kensington has now reached a settlement of its debts with Congo, so the Vitol case has effectively been shelved. However, given the UK courts found that Vitol’s UK-registered and headquartered companies, and UK employees, had aided Congo to evade a UK court judgement and move money offshore to avoid seizure by creditors, and given Kensington’s allegations of corrupt kickbacks combined with the fact that Vitol and its employees resisted testifying by claiming privilege against self-incrimination on the grounds that “those allegations could, if proved, amount to criminal conduct under the laws of this country”, Global Witness believes that this case should be investigated further by the UK authorities.

  73.  This case again reveals evidence of public officials, with the aid of UK-registered companies, making use of offshore structures to deliberately obscure transactions of state oil, thus evading judgments by UK courts and possibly facilitating the diversion public revenues into private hands.

—————————————————————————————————–

Labour MPs have previously described Mr Taylor’s donations to the Conservative Party as “dirty money” and called for the Tories to return it. We keenly await clarity on whether that remains the case, or whether they consider Mr Taylor’s cash to have been magically cleaned up in some way since September 2012.

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    97 to “Way down deep in the middle of the Congo”

    1. Adrian B says:

      Only able to access this via your twitter feed. Is that the intention?

      Edit – working now.

    2. Gordon Bain says:

      Man, I love this site! Thank you.
       
      Hail Alba!

    3. Vincent McDee says:

      Colourful indeed.

    4. Famous15 says:

      Mr Darling is a Right Honourable and Learned man and should be informed of this.
       
      Hansard you say? So it may taken that Mr Darling is already aware and just does not share your ethical standards,Reverend.

    5. Ray says:

      This is great work, but you already won me over with the Um Bongo reference!

    6. Iain More says:

      Johann Lamont was unavailable for comment!

    7. Peninsula says:

      Oh dear.
      It seems Better Together’s position becomes more and more untenable.  
      Can anyone imagine the media furore if this was happening to Yes Scotland?
      Yet what we get is a total media blackout on a major development in the independence debate. (excepting the Herald, who should be commended thoroughly) 
      I dread to think of  the mood in Scotland if it votes No on the back of all this. 

    8. Jiggsbro says:

      whether they consider Mr Taylor’s cash to have been magically cleaned up in some way since September 2012.
       
      Careful now. You’ll get another libel action threat for accusing him of money-laundering. 😉

    9. panda paws says:

      Looking forward to lawyer’s letters being sent to Westminster!!
      At the risk of incurring Rev’s anger for going off topic, here’s another reason why a Yes vote is vital.
      http://tompride.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/atos-tell-woman-with-mental-age-of-3-yrs-to-get-a-job-not-satire-please-share/
       
       

    10. FletcherOfSaltoun says:

      Once again very good presentation of the evidence. Thanks also to Kevin Pringle for rooting around in Hansard.

    11. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Thanks Stu for releaving what’s merely in the public domain. I strongly suspect that this will grow arms and legs.  Some of the MSM have not been able to ignore tha ativitities of this company and certain senior executives.
      It gets worse. For them and Better Together. Aint life a bitch!

    12. Richard Lucas says:

      Willie Rennie, Leader of the ‘Scottish’ FibDems said ‘But, hey, I mean, what can you do?’

    13. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      revealing.

    14. Richard Lucas says:

      Better Together folk should be reminded that in an earlier thread here tattiebogle provided a link to a Texas court case in which Mr Taylor described himself as ‘the public face of Vitol’

    15. Alex Grant says:

      Well done (again) Stu! Lets hope the Sunday papers pick this up. Unfortunately Thatcher is getting in the way!

    16. Linda's Back says:

      Could you please supply the link to the Taxas Court Case

    17. Tattie-boggle says:

      Went over to BBC Scotland to see if they had picked up anything on any of this yet 
      (I wont hold my breath) I found this though
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-22125069
      Why do they even bother?

    18. Richard Lucas says:

      What’s that line Streisand sang in ‘The Way We Were’? ah yes – ‘What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget’ The motto of the BT fundraisers.

    19. ecossenkosi says:

      They are making far too much capital out of Maggie, let’s just remind them about Vitol at every opportunity we can.

    20. Bobby Mckail says:

      I said a few days ago and as was said on this site this would blow up in their faces. Now Better Together are in defence mode of accusing any/everyone of a smear campaign against them. How they can continue along the lines of battling down the hatches (aided by the BBC) is surely the worst strategic schoolboy error. The sun Editorial has slapped them down today and told them in no uncertain terms that negativity is a byword of Better Together.
      I seriously think their judgement is impaired when they decided to Legal threaten the Herald, bonkers!
      Kudos to WingsOverScotland for standing your ground and not being bullied by these vindictive people. Let’s hope that National Collective has a nice surprise for them next week.
       

    21. Bill says:

      Ive searched Birth records in Scotland for Ian Taylor and cant find anything!
      Just saying, could be English?

    22. Dcanmore says:

      Of course this is what Comical Ali calls ‘fine and upstanding gentlemen’.

    23. Amanayeman says:

      Willie Rennie says;
      But will there no’ be lots of forms tae fill in n’ that an’ there’s bound tae hunners o questions. I think, maybe. Is Alex Salmond behind this? 

    24. muttley79 says:

      @Iain More
       
       
      Johann Lamont was unavailable for comment!
       
      Alastair Darling was unavailable for comment.
      Douglas Alexander was unavailable for comment.
      Jim Murphy was unavailable for comment.
      Margaret Curran was unavailable for comment.
      Willie Rennie was unavailable for comment.
      Ruth Davidson was unavailable for comment etc.
       
       

    25. Yesitis says:

      BBC Labour think everything`s tickety boo.
       
      Is that the tide coming in..?

    26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ive searched Birth records in Scotland for Ian Taylor and cant find anything!
      Just saying, could be English?”

      Apparently he WAS born in Scotland but moved to England as a small child and hasn’t lived in Scotland since.

    27. McHaggis says:

      Prediction –
       
      The donation will be handed back to Mr Taylor within 10 days.
      Mr Taylor will announce he is still pursuing those he feels have libelled him.
      BetterTogether will state the return of the money is solely to protect the transparency and fairness of their campaign, and to allow Mr Taylor to clear his name.
      BetterTogether will also deny anyone ever having said they had “no intentions of returning the donation”
      Mr Taylor will not clear his name, the donation will be quietly forgotten about and some other millionaire Tory will pop up with half a million in spare cash.

    28. Richard Lucas says:

      The excellent tattie-bogle beat me to it! fifth para down:
      Taylor is described as “the ‘President’ of Vitol.” Taylor says this is “an outward facing title that, of itself, confers no special status? It does, however, mean that I am the public face of Vitol and play an important role in business development and client relationships for the group.” Taylor states that he is employed by Vitol Broking Limited, and is a member of the board of directors of Vitol Holding BV and Vitol Holding II SA. All three entities are part of the Vitol Group. Miguel also is one of seven members of Vitol Holding II SA’s board of directors. According to Taylor, the Vitol Group as a whole is managed by Vitol Holding II SA’s board of directors.

    29. Bill says:

      Bill I stand corrected I wouldnt want a Serbian hitman delivering a lawyers letter!

    30. scaredy cat. says:

      THIS is the reason I keep coming back to this website. Excellent work sir. I am sharing and sharing because the BBC seem to have lost their tongue again. Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot? 
      I remember watching the first episode of the Newsroom (US series) sometime last year. The main theme was that a serious, honest news programme could  not survive against the backdrop of commercial pressure in the USA. The people involved go against all logic (and their employers) and produce a quality show. It’s a great show. Anyway, the point is that I remember thinking, at the time, that we are lucky to have the BBC because it can be impartial.
      I hadn’t thought much about independence then. I only see now, by researching the subject online, how naive I was. Thank you Stu, for sharing your insight.

    31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Thank you Stu, for sharing your insight.”

      In fairness, all I’ve done in this post is a bit of cut-and-pasting with added highlighting… 😀

    32. Cath says:

      I look forward to Hansard being shut down and sent a lawyers letter.
       
      The Better Together campaign more and more makes me think of a kid with hands and face covered in chocolate, standing by the biscuit jar saying, “I never ate it. I never” and pointing to its little brother saying, “he’s a liar, he’s the one who ate it!”

    33. Brian says:

      One thing you might need to watch out for: if something big comes out of this, the way BBC and the No campaign work, they might suddenly claim they uncovered this!
      Though how to keep the money and claim this would be tricky, but I’m sure the BBC would help No Campaign out in any way it could.

    34. muttley79 says:

      @scaredy cat
       
      THIS is the reason I keep coming back to this website. Excellent work sir. I am sharing and sharing because the BBC seem to have lost their tongue again. Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot?
       
      Wall to wall coverage in the MSM springs to mind.  Pravada is getting more and more surreal. 

    35. John Lyons says:

      Yes, thanks for that. It’s going to take some amount of full blast Megadeth to remove that tune from between my ears now!
      Oh well, if you can’t beat them join them….
       Way down deep in the middle of the Congo,
      a hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango.
      He stuck it with the others, and he danced a dainty tango.
      The rhino said, “I know, we’ll call it Um Bongo”
      Um Bongo, Um Bongo,They drink it in the Congo.
      The python picked the passion fruit, the marmoset the mandarin.
      The parrot painted packets, that the whole caboodle landed in.
      So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle,
      They all prefer the sunny funny one they call Um Bongo!
       
      Sorry, someone had to do it…
       

    36. Tattie-boggle says:

      @ McHaggis
      I agree
      But I think they will struggle to find one without lots of skeletons in the closet 🙂

    37. Graham Ennis says:

      So let Me get this clear. 
      Lamont, as senior figure in the No campaign, has been helping to run an operation that is financed by corrupt kick back cash, tax evasion, and fraud, and evasion of London Court judgements. The conduct of those involved, amounted to criminal conduct. Lamont, who is unbelievably stupid, is apparently unaware of all this, uninterested, and is now in “Frightened Rabbit frozen in headlights” Mode. Pathetic. Pitiable. Criminal. using stolen criminal assets to finance a political campaign to retain the Scottish colonial possession. You could’nt make this up. All energy now has to be focussed on Lamont. As an old political activist, I smell blood here, like a shark scenting lunch….Unbelievable. The law is clear, in both parts of the UK. using stolen criminal assets, (which they still, in part are) is still illegal, whatever Kensington did, by way of settlement. Criminal assets do not become legal ones, by some magical process, on their own. 
      OK, the law says that receiving criminal assets is a crime. They are still criminal assets. The NO campaign has to now do due diligence, and to separate out and “quarantine” the Taylor cash. The law obliges them to. It also obliges them to not return the cash to Taylor, (its suspected stolen property, giving it back, makes them criminal accessories). Now we come to the good part. They have to inform the police they may have recieved criminal assets, and request an investigation. it’s illegal to spend the cash until the legal all clear is sounded. In the meantime, ANY member of the public who wants to, can register a criminal complaint with the scottish police. this should be done, in great haste, and maximum publicity. The cash is also, potentially, like “Blood diamond money”. This should be pointed out. Lastly, in my international experience, people like Taylor always link back, somewhere, to foreign and UK intelligence agencies. They could’nt do business, in places like the congo, if they did not. A little digging, with Congo exil;e and dissdent groups, will undoubtedly uncover much that is disgusting, about Taylors operations. OK Lamont, please stop recieving stolen cash, and using it in your squalid political campaign. I smell a victory approaching, in what must now become total war. 

    38. Gordon Bain says:

      I just listened to Brian Taylor’s hoe-down. Nothing to report. Why do the SNP bother? 
      There’s no point having the answers if no-one asks the questions.
       
       

    39. Eva says:

      @ John Lyons
       
      thank you John, I cdnt get the 1st line out of my head, nor cd I get beyond it 🙂

    40. Angus McLellan says:

      The court reports on Kensington v Congo are interesting, if you like that sort of thing. Google will find you a number of them. And for background, Global Witness’s report on Congolese oil shenanigans The Riddle of the Sphynx is available here: http://www.globalwitness.org/library/riddle-sphynx-where-has-congo%E2%80%99s-oil-money-gone. And anyone who reads about this and just sees a stick with which to beat Better Together is forgetting the real victims in this affair, the people of Congo.
      That’s not likely to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, so to end on a happier note how about this story by Bloomberg last year which made me laugh: “I’m concerned for the future both in Switzerland and elsewhere,” said David Fransen, chief executive officer of Vitol Group’s trading arm, citing the threat of over-regulation and higher taxes. Well, it could be worse. At least Fransen won’t have to worry about the Swiss bonus cap law. Vitol S.A. and it’s parent Vitol B.V., are privately owned.

    41. Graham Ennis says:

      Someone can go and get an injunction on the cash, freezing it, while it is in Scotland. They are taking action to prevent criminal activity. Likewise, the life of the local police can be made hell, until they start an investigation. 

    42. John Lyons says:

      Eva,
      don’t thank me thank Mr Google and his amazing findy tool.

      😉

    43. Tattie-boggle says:

      @ Graham Ennis
      Defenses for receiving stolen property
       Intoxication is another defense, but the intoxication must be severe enough to prevent any knowledge that the property was stolen. Infancy and insanity are also good defences
      courtesy of
      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Receiving+Stolen+Property

    44. Cath says:

      “using stolen criminal assets, (which they still, in part are) is still illegal”
       
      Isn’t there a law in Scotland that the Scottish government (or police?) can confiscate the proceeds of crime and put them into community schemes 😉

    45. EdinScot says:

      Now this is what i call proper investigative journalism, a hat tip to the Rev Stu once again.  Just when the Unionists thought they could come out Lamonts bunker…Splat back in the mire they go.
       
      Is this not what the Electoral Commission was set up to look into?  Ah i get it, its only if  the YES campaign were to get into certain donation difficulties that we would see the appropriate action and investigation take place.  In that case isnt it time to get out of this stinking rotten Unionist cesspit that they call democracy in Scotland.
       
      Shame on the Unionist Pravda at Pacific Quay on covering up for their red Tories.  If it was us theyd be camped outside Alec Salmond and Blair Jenkins properites  like a scene from ‘another stake out’.  Credit where  its due to Dunwoodie @ the Herald.  Time to crank it up on the NO camp.  Its great that Wings, NC, NNS and all us have put them on the backfoot.  Revenge is a dish and all that…

    46. Eva says:

      @ John Lyons
       
      where would we all be now without the internet? 😉
       

    47. The Man in the Jar says:

      Sing it again Barbara, sing it again!

    48. dmw42 says:

      All I’m going to add Stu is that Kevin Pringle reads WoS, I highlighted this in the Closing Down Debate thread, albeit not as eloquently as Kevin or yourself.
       
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/closing-down-debate/#comment-372475
       
      More power to you, and thank you for ensuring that this is deservingly more widely read.

    49. Breastplate says:

      Ian Taylor is actually Dorian Gray and people have found his portrait. Yikes!!!

    50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “All I’m going to add Stu is that Kevin Pringle reads WoS, I highlighted this in the Closing Down Debate thread, albeit not as eloquently as Kevin or yourself.”

      Good work, DMW. I missed that one.

    51. Barontorc says:

      Graham Ennis  – Good thinking indeed! So who’s gonna be the first to make a complaint to our shiny new Police Scotland?
       
      I’m sure Frank Mulholland and Kenny Mackaskill will be watching this issue with keen interest. What’s the Electoral Commission doing about it?
       
      As the Chinese saying goes – ‘May you live in interesting times’, could be coined specifically for the Bitter Together-ists!

    52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Some more interesting stuff on Mr Taylor
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/the-no-campaign-gets-its-figures-wrong-again/

      Excellent find, just tweeted.

    53. Marcia says:

      I expect the BT people will be trying to find something on any future big donor to the Yes campaign. Although I am not a big donor I was two weeks late with my library books a few years ago and got a small fine.

    54. scaredy cat. says:

      Also came across this http://www.businessforscotland.com which points out that he canny count either.

    55. scaredy cat. says:

      Oops, sorry you already saw it.

    56. glasgow sheep says:

      tbf to the BBC on GMS this morning when speaking to Ken MacIntosh about the Herald’s report on tax revenues (which he stuttered his way through), they asked him, and pressed him for a response on Taylor’s donation.  Despite repeatedly being asked if it was acceptable to accept this money and despite it being pointed out to him that the fact he donated was in the public domain he refused to be drawn on it stating he wasn’t heavily involved with the Better Together campaign and didn’t know about his donation.  He couldn’t  have been more evasive or sounded more pathetic if he’d tried.

    57. Ananurhing says:

      Curioser, and curioser!

    58. creag an tuirc says:

      Poor Mr Taylor. The cybernat midgies are all of his closet 🙂

    59. Ananurhing says:

      Curiouser, and curiouser….even!

    60. LeeMacD says:

      The Guardian 2001 – “The Pakistan government is probing a huge oil shipment in 1993, when British firm Vitol sold 280,000 tonnes of ‘contaminated’ oil to the country’s state-owned power company. The fuel is alleged to have caused millions of pounds worth of damage to power stations.”
       
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jul/22/conservatives.observerpolitics
       
      A lovely company. Makes you proud to be British. Or are they Swiss now?

    61. MajorBloodnok says:

      Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is a good guy and has written a number of interesting business related articles.
       
      If you are on LinkedIn it is worth joining the Business for Scotland Group as they come up with some useful thoughts and analyses.  I joined the group after finding out about it at the first YES Scotland meeting in Edinburgh last year.  I comment on the LinkedIn group sometimes – see if you can work out which one is me!

    62. ianbrotherhood says:

      Just watched the end of an Al Jazeera documentary about the oil industry in Africa. The title included ‘The Seven Sisters’ (a ref to the oil companies concerned?).
       
      Heavy stuff. It’s repeated tonight (8pm) It interviewed the oil minister for Libya, then added a PS explaining that, after the lynching of Gaddafi, the minister had bolted to Vienna. He was later found dead in the Danube, and the official explanation was ‘heart-attack’. It also showed some footage of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and we all know what happened to him.
       
      These are truly evil characters we’re dealing with.
       
      Steady as we go…

    63. LeeMacD says:

      Haha – this is about Ian Taylor’s donations to the Tories but it seems apposite
       
      ‘Did nobody think, ” Hang on, that Taylor chap, didn’t his company hire a mass-murdering psychopath to put the frighteners on an oil trader in Serbia so they could take a cut of an UN santions busting oil deal with a regime which practised genocide?”. Clearly not. With such forward thinkers at the head of government, I can only quote Private Fraser.

      “We’re doomed”‘
       
      http://itmaynotbeillegalbut.blogspot.co.uk/

    64. Marcia says:

      Maybe the title of this thread should be renamed:
      Pandora’s Box.

    65. Richard Lucas says:

      The excellent tattie-bogle beat me to it! fifth para down:
      Taylor is described as “the ‘President’ of Vitol.” Taylor says this is “an outward facing title that, of itself, confers no special status? It does, however, mean that I am the public face of Vitol and play an important role in business development and client relationships for the group.” Taylor states that he is employed by Vitol Broking Limited, and is a member of the board of directors of Vitol Holding BV and Vitol Holding II SA. All three entities are part of the Vitol Group. Miguel also is one of seven members of Vitol Holding II SA’s board of directors. According to Taylor, the Vitol Group as a whole is managed by Vitol Holding II SA’s board of directors.

    66. Inbhir Anainn says:

      May not be applicable in this instance but a knowledgeable read nonetheless Scots Law Defamation on the Internet.
       
      http://www.scottishlaw.org.uk/journal/oct2000/def.pdf
       
       

    67. Iain says:

      @LeeMacD
      ‘A lovely company. Makes you proud to be British. Or are they Swiss now?’

      With all this crap coming out, they’ll be calling Vitol Scottish afore ye know it.

    68. SCED300 says:

      If the No campaign have gone quiet it will e because they are trying to find something they can get out first onto the BBC sites. They will suppress this as long as possible until they can get something, anything.
      One positive note from Newsnet Scotland; ” A letter sent by an official at the Luxembourg Embassy in London has accused BBC Scotland reporter Glenn Campbell of failing to interpret accurately a response given by the nation’s Foreign Minister to a question posed by the BBC Scotland reporter on the EU and Scottish independence.”
      Adding the Scottish Government did accurately interpreted the Ministers response.

    69. Macart says:

      Nice work Rev. 😉
       
      When we said go get em, you didn’t hang around.

    70. Malcolm says:

      Had a wee look through wikileaks cables, couldn’t find much.
       
      http://cablegatesearch.net/search.php?q=vitol&qo=0&qc=0&qto=2010-02-28
       
      Some stuff about the suspicious timing of Vitol cancelling a refining contract and Rosneft replacing it in Lithuania but fairly dry 🙁

    71. Rod Mac says:

      Can you imagine if this guy had donated to the Yes campaign.
      There would be more BBc coverage than Maggie’s death is getting.
      every Labour MP ,MSP Councillor would be on TV and Radio demanding the money returned and all Yes Campaign jailed

    72. Dramfineday says:

      another contribution to the yes campaign just made – pity it’s only a handful of beans and not 1/2 Mill but mony a mickle etc.

    73. The Dog says:

      How about Vitol falsifying documents in order to overcharge the Nigerian Govt for oil?
      http://saharareporters.com/news-page/fuel-subsidy-rip-offs-wikileaks-reveals-how-nnpc-cost-nigeria-billions-dollars
       

    74. rabb says:

      Marcia says:
      12 April, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      I expect the BT people will be trying to find something on any future big donor to the Yes campaign. Although I am not a big donor I was two weeks late with my library books a few years ago and got a small fine.

      I’m shitting myself here too.

      I donated to the Yes campaign too.
      I got 3 points on my license about 20 years ago for a dubious parking offence on Shettleston Rd.
       
      I’d better go and have a word with my brief before it all kicks off!!

    75. Albalha says:

      I made passing reference to Pakistan, Congo t’other day, anyway not sure if this has been posted yet but it’s where I got my information
       
      http://cameron-cloggysmoralcompass.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/alan-duncan-ian-taylor-oil-and.html

    76. creag an tuirc says:

      So better together address funding issue by retweeting this, which they find amusing https://twitter.com/aoshay/status/322317992560058368/photo/1 

    77. Another London Dividend says:

      Vitol also has a stake in Dart Energy which is trying to get permission to undertake Fracking in Scotland.
       
      http://frack-off.org.uk/dart-shareholder-hired-hitman-broke-sactions-paid-tories-550000/

    78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So better together address funding issue by retweeting this, which they find amusing https://twitter.com/aoshay/status/322317992560058368/photo/1

      It’s always nice to know they’re reading…

    79. Marcia says:

      If you phone Better Together to ask about Mr Taylor’s donation they will cut you off……..
       
      http://therealmcgowan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/bettertogether-ian-taylors-500000.html

    80. creag an tuirc says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell
      They keep telling us that not all SNP voters support Independence, so I wonder how many SNP voters donated to better together? and how many from LFI donated to YES

    81. annie says:

      Considering the Libdems refused to hand back the millions from the convicted fraudster and the Tories haven’t handed back their dodgy donations from Taylor and we all know what “paragons of virtue” Labour are  I think its very unlikely that Bitter Together will hand back their £500,000 so we will just have to keep using it as a stick to beat them with.

    82. balgayboy says:

      Whoever has the wherewithal it would be interesting to dig deeper into darkest africa and expose not only the subject matter but the whole UK establishment….you know the ones that create the laws and principles that the british people should adhere to and follow, while these corrupt crooks get fat. Enough of this for all.

    83. Amanayeman says:

      @ Marcia 12.40
      You’ve got a small fine what? Please, the suspense is driving me mad (I nearly said nuts but was afraid you fellows might have made a thing out of it) damn, did it again DAMN and again.

    84. Marcia says:

      Amanayeman

      I had to pay about  £1.50 if I remember correctly.  The shame of not handing my books on time was due to working day and night at the 2003 Holyrood election in Dundee East and it slipped my mind. Not a valid excuse they said. It was worth it as we gained the seat from Labour with a 90 vote majority.

    85. Richard Lucas says:

      Meanwhile, over at SoS, Kenny Farq is being a smartarse.  He thinks that Salmond’s dissent over the sending of troops into the Balkans somehow negates objections to BT’s acceptance of Taylor’s blood money.

      Kenny Farquharson ?@KennyFarq 3h

      I trust the irony of the SNP complaining about Arkan is not lost on anyone? #unpardonablefolly

    86. Amanayeman says:

      @Marcia
      Sorry Marcia, I wasn’t prying. I was employing double entendre in an attempt to be amusing. Perhaps I should stick to single entendre. 

    87. Marcia says:

      Amanayeman
       
      I think we have the same sense of humour. I knew you were not being serious.

    88. scaredy cat. says:

      On the subject of library books, I too have a confession. I used to work part-time in a library and I used to cancel the fines  when people brought their books back late if I suspected they couldn’t afford it. Does that make me guilty too?

    89. wee e says:

      There’s an interesting case in the US that gives some detail on Ian Taylor’s position in Vitol.  It’s actually in an American couple’s 2009 divorce case, where the couple were in dispute about the value of their shares in a US subsidiary of Vitol. As I understand this — the wife wanted Ian Taylor, as the person best placed to know the value, to verify whether value of these shares. (It’s a privately-held company.)
      Taylor’s position was that he didn’t have this knowledge and didn’t want to be involved. The court then had to decide what Taylor’s exact position of responsibility & knowledge was within Vitol.  In short, not the PR post he maintained it was.
      The Justice’s report has this to say about Taylor’s role within Vitol (emphasis is mine).
      “Vitol, Inc. is one of more than 50 companies that constitute the Vitol Group, a privately owned business that engages in petroleum distribution and trading. The Vitol Group also includes entities called the “Tinsel Group” and “Stichting.”
      “Taylor is described as “the ‘President’ of Vitol.” Taylor says this is “an outward facing title that, of itself, confers no special status? It does, however, mean that I am the public face of Vitol and play an important role in business development and client relationships for the group.” Taylor states that he is employed by Vitol Broking Limited, and is a member of the board of directors of Vitol Holding BV and Vitol Holding II SA. All three entities are part of the Vitol Group. […]
       According to Taylor, the Vitol Group as a whole is managed by Vitol Holding II SA’s board of directors.”
      […]
      “Taylor asserts that he is not a director, officer or employee of the companies or entities identified in the deposition request except for Vitol Holding BV and Vitol Holding II SA. He further states that, although he is described as the “President” of Vitol, this is an “outward facing title” and he is merely the “public face” of Vitol. Based on these statements, Leticia argues that Taylor negated his claimed apex status. We are unpersuaded by this argument. Although he attempts to downplay his job responsibilities, Taylor states that he is a director of certain Vitol entities and “President” of Vitol. Taylor qualifies a “high level official” on this record.”
      [….]
      “[A witness named] Swaby was not able to identify anyone who has more knowledge of Vitol than Taylor. Swaby further testified that an intrinsic value of shares, or an allocation of retained earnings, is calculated annually, which Taylor then reports to the shareholders:…”
      […]
      “As stated above, there is no backup data for Taylor’s report on Vitol’s earnings. Instead, the shareholders rely solely on Taylor for this information. This testimony supports a determination that Taylor arguably has superior or unique knowledge regarding Vitol’s financial performance as it relates to [the husband’s] stock.”
      Court of Appeals of Texas,Houston (14th Dist.).
      IN RE: Ian TAYLOR, Relator. No. 14-09-00548-CV. — August 20, 2009
       
       

    90. Graham Ennis says:

      Somebody plese tke this stolen csh issue to the Scottish police. Their responsibility now.
       

    91. Holebender says:

      Graham Ennis says:
       
      12 April, 2013 at 6:05 pm
      Somebody plese tke this stolen csh issue to the Scottish police. Their responsibility now.
       
      Did somebody steal the ‘A’ from your keyboard?

    92. Taranaich says:

      If Better Together could harness the nostalgic power of Um Bongo, then we’d be in trouble. Just as well Rev got there first, though Kia-Ora’s still up for grabs.



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