A top Iranian trade official has reportedly denied that a public company in Iran, which does not recognize the Jewish state, has bought a ship from an Israeli firm as claimed by US authorities. According to the US State Department, an Ofer Holdings Group subsidiary, Tanker Pacific Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd. sold an oil tanker to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
“Based on the laws of the country, any kind of trade or economic transaction with the Zionist regime and its affiliated firms is against the law,” the chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) Mohammad Nahavandian was quoted as saying.
Nahavandian added, “The news regarding the activities of Zionist firms in regard to Iran is a new game which has surfaced in reaction to other nations welcoming establishing economic ties with Iran. Thus they [West powers] are naming some Zionist firms as engaged in doing business with Iran."
Lebanese daily "The Daily Star" said in its report on the case today, "The Islamic Republic does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and its animosity has hardened under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has launched repeated tirades against the Jewish state."
In a statement yesterday, Tanker Pacific said, "Media reports since the State Department’s announcement have suggested a direct ownership link between Tanker Pacific and the Ofer Brothers Group in Israel. That information is not correct, has created confusion, and we understand has caused damage to unconnected businesses in Israel."
There has been considerable confusion, including by the US Department of State and the media, between Ofer Holdings, controlled by Sammy Ofer and his son, Idan Ofer, and Ofer Brothers, controlled by Sammy Ofer's brother, Yuli Ofer. The affair involving the alleged sale of an oil tanker for $8.65 million was by an Ofer Holdings Group subsidiary.
Ofer Holdings denies the State Department claim, saying that it sold the tanker to a Dubai company.
Tanker Pacific said, "Tanker Pacific considers the announcement by the US State Department on 24 May 2011 relating to our involvement in the sale of mt Raffles Park to be a harsh assessment of our due diligence process. However, in light of this announcement, we have carried out a full investigation of the internal procedures that existed at the time of the sale. It is our intention to use every possible means to ensure such an event will not be repeated. Accordingly, with immediate effect, Tanker Pacific is implementing enhanced compliance procedures, and employing additional resources, to ensure that the company operates a “best practice” due diligence process.
"With regards to the sale of Raffles Park, Tanker Pacific believes that the searches and enquiries it made at the time of the transaction were appropriate; and gave no indication that the vessel would ultimately fall into Iranian hands."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 29, 2011
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