Increasing possibility of prosecution

Lundin Petroleum believes the probability has increased that Board Chairman Ian Lundin and CEO Alex Schneiter will face charges over possible crimes against international humanitarian law in Sudan.

The two were questioned by the Swedish international prosecutor last year and formally notified in November 2016 that they were suspected of committing international crimes in Sudan between 1997 and 2003. Lundin Oil and Lundin Petroleum operated in South Sudan at that time. The CEO and chairman have since been summoned for further questioning in 2017.

“It is not a good sign that the prosecutor has not closed the case,” says a well-informed source to business daily Dagens Industri.

Lundin denies serious allegations

The senior management of Lundin Petroleum have been accused of assisting in crimes against international law in Sudan and South Sudan. The accusations concern how Lundin Petroleum, then called Lundin Oil, acted to gain access to block 5A, an area in Sudan where the company wanted to prospect for oil despite the fact that Sudan was in civil war. Lundin Oil is accused of having given financial support to the military which expelled civilians from block 5A. Between 10,000 and 12,000 people were killed during the operation.

In an open letter to shareholders in Lundin Petroleum Ian Lundin writes, “This process is part of the normal procedures in Swedish preliminary investigations and we want to emphasise that no charge have been made. The board remains convinced that there are no grounds to the accusations that any representative of Lundin has acted improperly.”

However prosecutor Magnus Elving hopes to press charges next year and Egbert Wesselink, spokesperson for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), which monitors international oil companies in Sudan welcomes the news. This is the first time someone has been made accountable for what happened in Sudan and South Sudan, according to Elving.