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Geneva honourary consul steps down after oil smuggling reports

Published fredag 5 maj kl 11.12
 Torbjörn Törnqvist at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
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Torbjörn Törnqvist at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Credit: Joakim Goksör/TT
Gunvor owns a 26 per cent stake in the Ust-Luga Oil Products Terminal in Latvia.
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Gunvor owns a 26 per cent stake in the Terminal in Latvia. Credit: Ust-Luga Oil

The chief executive and main owner of Swedish oil trading giant Gunvor has stepped down from his position as honorary consul in Geneva following a Swedish Radio investigation.

Swedish Radio's Ekot news service on Thursday revealed that Gunvor had bought petroleum products, which according to documents collected in a Belarussian investigation, had been smuggled out of the country.

Sweden's foreign ministry told Swedish Radio on Thursday that Torbjörn Törnqvist, the Swedish billionaire who co-founded Gunvor in 1997, had decided to resign.

"We have discussed Ekot's reporting with Consul Törnqvist in Geneva. In those discussions, the consul has requested that he be removed from his position," the ministry said in an email. "This is now in process, but his resignation is going to be accepted."

Despite Törnqvist's impending resignation, Gunvor continues to insist that it has done no wrong.

A spokesman for the company told Swedish Radio that although the company had indeed bought the petroleum products named in the documents,  it had done so after they had passed customs between Belarussia and Latvia.

The responsibility for any smuggling lay on the Belarussian side, he said. Nothing in the documents obtained by Swedish Radio shows that Gunvor was aware that the oil products had been smuggled.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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