The company planning 22 Scottish coal bed methane gas wells – Dart Energy – has a dark secret. One of the company’s owners – Bob Finch- paid a Serbian war criminal $1m to enforce a business deal in 2001.
In 2001 Finch travelled to Serbia an hired a notorious Serb hitman – Arkan – to intimidate a businessman with whom Finch had a deal to sell oil. After the deal soured, a court ordered Finch to pay the businessman $2m. He then hired Arkan to ‘visit’ the the businessman. The businessman subsequently signed a new agreement to set aside the court decision. As a reward for his services, Arkan demanded a $1 million fee.
Senior Exectuve Bob Finch later confirmed his dealings with the warlord.
Finch owns his stake in Dart via a company at which he is a director – GEL/ GPEL Ltd.
Finch also works for oil giant Vitol, a company that is no stranger to controversy. The company broke Iraqi sanctions in 2007 and is being questioned over recent oil shipments to Iran. Vitol subsequently paid David Cameron’s Tory party £550,000.
Six years later Vitol’s Chief Executive Ian Taylor pleaded guilty to first degree grand larceny after paying $13 million in ‘secret kickbacks’ to the Iraqi government in exchange for oil under the United Nations’ oil-for-food program. They were fined a total of $17.5 million ($13 million in restitution to the Development Fund for Iraq).
The company has also been questioned on breaking the oil embargo against Iran.
More recently it emerged that the company’s boss had given £550,000 to the Conservative government. Taylor was a guest at a dinner party with David Cameron in his Downing Street flat last November. Weeks after the private dinner it emerged that the Foreign Office had brokered a deal for Vitol to supply oil to rebel forces in Libya opposed to Colonel Gaddafi.
According to Channel 4’s Dispatches, Taylor was part of David Cameron’s Leaders Group which donated more than £50 million to the Tory party between 2005 & 2008.
Vitol has close links with others in the Tory party – once employing senior Tory Alan Duncan as a consultant.