Lebanon:Arrest warrant against Algeria’s Sonatrach local CEO

A court in Lebanon has issued an arrest warrant against Chief of local Algerian oil company Sonatrach after the company has been accused of selling adulterated fuel and of corruption.

Judge Nicolas Mansour, prosecutor of Mont-Liban court of appeal ordered the arrest of Tarek Faoual and several employees of Sonatrach Petroleum (SPC), a subsidiary of Algeria’s state-run oil company, local media reported.

The move came after Faoual and the company workers confessed to justice that they paid kickbacks to some Lebanese authorities to supply Electricity of Lebanon (EDL) with adulterated fuel.

The scandal, which was brought to light early last month, revealed that SPC, on a contract with EDL since 2005, delivered two shipments of tampered fuel to its clients in March and late last week.

The shipments of fuel stemmed from an Algeria-controlled refinery in Sicilia, Italy. Tests of the samples from the March shipment vetted by an Italian laboratory, validated the commodity but counter tests conducted by Karadeniz, a Turkish operator which is also a purchaser of the fuel, revealed that the fuel shipments was adulterated.

Early last month, after EDL lodged a complaint, another judge at Mont-Liban court of appeal ordered the arrest of 17 people including Faoul.

The case has become a diplomatic thorny issue between the two countries, TSA reports. Raymond Ghajar, the Lebanese minister of energy and water met Monday with Algeria’s ambassador to Lebanon to discuss the matter.

Sonatrach has denied the charges arguing none of its officials in Lebanon is connected with the corruption and the supply of adulterated oil allegations. The company blamed an independent shipping agent working with Lebanon-based SPC.

Judge Nicolas Mansour has interrogated several Lebanese officials from the energy ministry.

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