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Sweden authorises indictment of Lundin Oil executives over alleged complicity in war crimes in So. Sudan; co. denies allegations

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15 November 2018

Lundin Petroleum’s executives could be held individually accountable in Sweden for corporate atrocity crimes in So. Sudan, say experts

Author: Miriam Ingeson, Uppsala University & Alexandra Lily Kather, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, on EJIL: Talk!

"The Road Less Traveled: How Corporate Directors Could be Held Individually Liable in Sweden for Corporate Atrocity Crimes Abroad", 13 Nov 2018

On 18 October 2018, the Swedish Government authorized the Swedish Prosecution Authority to proceed to prosecution in a case regarding activities of two corporate directors within Swedish oil company Lundin Oil, and later within Lundin Petroleum, in Sudan (now South Sudan) between 1998 and 2003. The company’s chief executive and chairman could be charged with aiding and abetting gross crimes against international law...The case has the potential of furthering accountability of corporate actors for their involvement in international crimes abroad...

The slowly growing body of case-law from domestic courts on atrocity crimes in relation to corporations provides an opportunity for the legal community to gain a better understanding of the concept of corporate criminal liability, individual and organizational. The potential ending of impunity as domestic courts tentatively take this road less traveled also raises the hope of future restitution and compensation for victims. To survivors of atrocity crimes, that could make all the difference.

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15 November 2018

Open Letter from Ian H. Lundin and Alex Schneiter

Author: Ian H. Lundin (Chairman of the Board) & Alex Schneiter (President & CEO), Lundin Petroleum

The last nine years of this preliminary investigation have completely reinforced our already strong conviction that we are innocent, and our absolute certainty that neither we, nor any representative of Lundin, did anything wrong during our time in Sudan...

However,...it is increasingly clear to us, and our defence counsel, that the Prosecution Authority is determined to proceed to prosecution...

The preliminary investigation was initiated in 2010...[on the basis of reports produced by NGOs making]...false and baseless allegations against the Company [and] its subsidiary...in Sudan between the period 1997 to 2003...

[Despite the fact that] these reports contain many inaccuracies...with multiple layers of hearsay,... the Prosecution...is relying heavily on report from these NGOs...

All of this will be exposed during the legal process...[as this is] based on a biased and wrongful perception of criminal liability for conducting legitimate business activities and, as far as we are aware, this has never been previously tried in any national or international court...

Far from being indifferent to the conflict, which erupted in the region during the period, the Company did everything in its power to promote peace through peaceful means... 

[Moreover, at the time,] Sweden had a policy of constructive engagement with Sudan...and encouraged companies to invest [and]...refused to visit our area when we asked them to...


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1 November 2018

Lundin Petroleum receives information regarding a potential corporate fine and forfeiture of economic benefits in relation to past operations in Sudan

Author: Lundin Petroleum

Lundin Petroleum AB…received notification from the Swedish Prosecution Authority on 1 November 2018 that the Company may be liable to a corporate fine…and forfeiture of economic benefits…in connection with the preliminary investigation into past operations in Sudan from 1997 to 2003...

The notification indicates that the Prosecutor may seek: a corporate fine of SEK 3 million; and forfeiture of economic benefits from the alleged offense in the amount of SEK 3,282 million…

[In the event that this case is brought to court] Lundin Petroleum...will firmly contest any corporate fine or forfeiture of economic benefits...[because] there are absolutely no grounds for any allegations of wrongdoing by any Company representatives...

In June 2010, the Swedish Prosecution Authority initiated a preliminary investigation...[and since then] Lundin Petroleum and its representatives have cooperated extensively and proactively with the investigation by providing information regarding the past operations in Sudan and by participating in interviews...


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18 October 2018

Sweden OKs trial of Lundin Oil execs for Sudan war crimes

Author: AFP

Sweden on Thursday gave its green light for the indictment of the chief executive and chairman of Swedish group Lundin Oil, accused of being complicit in war crimes in the 2000s...

Sweden can prosecute crimes committed abroad in its court system, but the government's approval is needed to press charges against a foreign national for crimes committed abroad...

Lundin Oil is suspected of funding the Sudanese army and several militias to chase away local populations from regions where the company planned to carry out oil exploration...

...[T]he oil group said it believes "there are no grounds for any allegations of wrongdoing by any representative of the company."

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16 May 2017

Prosecution of Lundin Petroleum board members in Sweden over alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Sudan may start early 2018

Author: Lisa Röstlund, Aftonbladet (Sweden)

"Lundin röstar om miljardersättning till Sudan", 4 May 2017

[unofficial translation]

"Lundin votes for billion compensation to Sudan"

...Chairman of the Board Ian Lundin and CEO Alex Schneiter have...been announced [to be under] suspicion of assistance in cases of gross human rights violations...["]The investigation is in progress and it is progressing["], says [the Swedish] prosecutor. He hopes to finish the investigation, and possibly prosecute, at the beginning of next year...UN rapporteurs and human rights organizations such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have found that the oil company Lundin Petroleum contributed to mass death and flight in Sudan, between 1997-2003....[Lundin Petroleum stated: "] We remain convinced that there are no legal or other grounds for any allegations of wrongdoing against any representative of Lundin and believe that our co-operation with the preliminary investigation by a Swedish Prosecutor will show that... [W]e have always conducted our business appropriately.["]...

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15 November 2016

Lundin Petroleum officials to be questioned on possible complicity in Sudan war crimes

Author: Reuters

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

Swedish prosecutors will question the CEO and chairman of Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum about possible crimes against international humanitarian law in Sudan...

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 [said]..."There are no grounds for the allegations,"...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...

...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.

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15 November 2016

NGOs call Lundin Petroleum investigation an "an exemplary effort to seek accountability for corporate complicity in human rights abuses"

Author: James Ninrew, Victims’ Group Juba(South-Sudan) & Egbert Wesselink, PAX (Netherlands)

"Victims hopeful that Lundin Petroleum will pay its dues"

There is good news about South Sudan coming from Sweden. Lundin Petroleum’s Ian Lundin and Alex Schneiter are being questioned by the Swedish police for possible complicity in war crimes. For the first time in history, a competent court may soon be looking into war crimes that were committed in Sudan and South Sudan. Sweden is thereby showing true leadership. The investigation is an exemplary effort to seek accountability for corporate complicity in human rights abuses.

A court case however has limitations. Sweden cannot hold Sudanese or South Sudanese suspects to account, and it cannot easily deliver remedy to the victims. The indicted individuals represent only a segment of those who have benefitted from Sudan’s oil war, that earned Lundin Petroleum a fortune, while options for victims to obtain compensation through legal means are onerous and uncertain at best. Nonetheless, the victims of the oil war are starting to claim their right to effective remedy. Now is the time for the Swedish Government and Lundin Petroleum’s shareholders to take responsibility and realize this right.

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