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Lundin Petroleum CEO, chairman to be questioned on possible Sudan crimes

by Reuters
Friday, 21 October 2016 12:04 GMT

STOCKHOLM, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Swedish prosecutors will question the CEO and chairman of Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum about possible crimes against international humanitarian law in Sudan, a company spokesman said on Friday.

In 2010, prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into Lundin Petroleum's activities in the country after a report by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) said the company was possibly complicit in human rights abuses between 1997 and 2003.

"Personally, I am convinced the investigation will not lead to prosecution," Lundin Petroleum chairman Ian Lundin told the daily newspaper Dagens Industri on Friday.

"There are no grounds for the allegations," he said, adding that he had repeatedly asked the prosecutor to have an opportunity to answer his questions.

A spokesman for Lundin Petroleum confirmed Ian Lundin and CEO Alex Schneiter would be interviewed but said neither of them wanted to make further comments.

He said they expected the questioning to take place before the end of the year.

The prosecutor said he was looking at whether there was a Swedish connection to crimes against international humanitarian law in Sudan but declined to comment on details of the investigation to Reuters.

Under Swedish law, any such crimes can be prosecuted in the country's courts even if they were committed abroad.

The ECOS report said oil exploration by what was previously Lundin Oil, and other firms, set off a battle for control of a disputed region in Sudan which led to thousands of deaths and the forced displacement of local populations.

Lundin has since sold the businesses which operated in an area in what is now South Sudan.

"My view is that we were a positive force in Sudan and we always tried to do what was best for people in the local communities," Ian Lundin told the newspaper.

Sweden's former prime minister and foreign minister Carl Bildt has also been under fire for his seat on the company's board during the later part of the period when the company was an owner of the Block 5A oil concession.

Lundin Oil sold part of its assets, including its management and technical team, to Canada's Talisman Energy in 2001 while the rest of the company continued to operate under the new name Lundin Petroleum. (Reporting by Daniel Dickson; Editing by Simon Johnson and Elaine Hardcastle)

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