Lundin: war crimes allegations ‘unfounded’

Ian and Lukas Lundin have rejected accusations that the Lundin Group consists of "opportunistic, dictator-hugging businessmen", arguing that allegations of human rights abuses are "unfounded, unfair and in some cases, absurd".

Lundin: war crimes allegations 'unfounded'

In an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Sunday, the brothers defended their father Adolf’s business record and accused the Aftonbladet daily of having “set aside the principles for serious investigative journalism”.

“The allegations which, among others, Aftonbladet and some internationally active non-profit organizations have directed against Adolf Lundin and other members of the family and the men and women working in companies within the Lundin group are simply unfounded, unfair and in some cases, even absurd.”

The allegations refer to alleged human rights abuses in connection with oil exploration in southern Sudan between 1997 and 2003.

Magnus Elving of the International Prosecution Chamber in Stockholm (Internationella åklagarkammaren i Stockholm) is investigating claims made in a report entitled “Unpaid Debt” framed by an umbrella group named the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) and present in 2010.

The report alleges that Sudanese troops, in collaboration with militias, attacked and drove away the civilian population in areas where companies could drill for oil.

Lukas and Ian Lundin on Saturday welcomed this investigation.

“Thus far, we ourselves, or other employees of the Lundin Group, have not been called to any questioning or interviews – but are looking forward to cooperating fully if we are asked to do so,” the pair wrote.

The brothers leapt to the defence of their father, who built the flagship family firm from modest beginnings in the 1980s into the major energy concern that it is today.

“To cast us who work in the Lundin Group as opportunistic, dictator-hugging businessmen is to display a complete lack of understanding of Adolf Lundin and the values ​​he stood for – and for the values ​​that we continue to stand for today.”

The pair argued that contrary to perception in some quarters of the Swedish press, the Lundin Group has contributed to economic growth in the countries in which they have been active.

“In our opinion there is no doubt that the Lundin Group’s presence has been of benefit to the communities and the peoples in all regions where we have been and are still active,” they claimed.

The brothers concluded by arguing that they were “long-term and responsible actors with the commodities sector” and called for a broader debate on how oil and mining firms can further contribute to “economic growth, environmental responsibility and human rights in the regions in which we are active”.

The investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sudan covers the period between 1997 and 2003. Lundin Oil was founded in 1997 and in 1999 the firm made a major discovery of oil in the Thar Jath structure in block 5A in southern Sudan.

Lundin Oil was subsequently sold to Talisman Energy in 2001 and the Sudan holdings, together with Iranian and Russian assets, were transferred to a new company Lundin Petroleum.

Lundin Petroleum sold its licence in Thar Jath to Petronas Carigali for $142.5 million in 2003.

On July 20th 2002 the government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a preliminary peace agreement in a first step to ending almost 20 years of civil war.

A comprehensive peace agreement was signed in January 2005 and South Sudan seceded to form an independent state on July 9th 2011.

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Swede leads Greenpeace Arctic oil mission

A 27-year-old former Swedish oil worker is leading a group of activists who remain on board a drill rig being transported across the Pacific Ocean as Shell seeks an injunction against the move.

Swede leads Greenpeace Arctic oil mission
The Crossing activists. Photo: Vincenzo Floramo/Greenpeace
Andreas Widlund, who says he became frustrated witnessing the hunt for Arctic oil, joined Greenpeace soon after quitting the oil industry and is among a team of six taking part in what Greenpeace has dubbed 'The Crossing'.
Widlund's biography on the campaign group's site says he "felt he could not continue to work actively for a business that drives the climate crisis forward".
Originally from Umeå in northern Sweden, he has joined activists from Germany, the USA, Austria and New Zealand for the trip.
On Tuesday, using inflatable boats and climbing gear, the campaigners managed to clamber on board the Polar Pioneer oil rig run by Shell which is heading towards Alaska to drill for oil. 
They then put up a banner in protest of Arctic offshore drilling, but promised not to interfere with the ship's navigation.
In a post on its website, Greenpeace described the crew as "determined to shine a white hot light on Shell’s reckless hunt for extreme Arctic oil. With them in spirit are millions of people from around the world who have joined the call for a global sanctuary in the Arctic".
"We don’t know how this journey will end or whether we'll succeed, but we know that we are not sailing towards this challenge alone," the statement added.
Widlund later tweeted: "I'm just an ordinary guy and I think that if you had the opportunity to do what I do you'd have the courage and strength to do it."
The youngest member of the group, Zoe Buckley Lennox, 21, from Australia posted several further updates on Wednesday. Describing the atmosphere, she said: "The wind is howling and the sound of flapping tarps fills the air". Other posts were about the crew's lack of access to toilets and coffee.


A spokesperson for the US government told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday that the activists were exposing themselves and the crew to "great risks" and Shell's US spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh sent an email to the UK's Guardian newspaper stating that Greenpeace was deploying "illegal tactics".
“We respect their views and value the dialogue,” she wrote.
“We will not, however, condone the illegal tactics employed by Greenpeace. Nor will we allow these stunts to distract from preparations underway to execute a safe and responsible exploration programme.”
After Shell formally lodged an injunction designed to get the crew removed from the ship, Greenpeace USA's executive director Annie Leonard said: “This injunction is Shell’s latest attempt to keep people from standing up for the Arctic. Shell thinks it can do whatever it wants, but there’s one thing the company still clearly fears — ordinary people standing up to save the Arctic."

“Shell wants activists off its rig. We want Shell out of the Arctic."

The Polar Pioneer set off from Malaysia last month. It is one of two rigs Shell is hoping to use for exploratory drilling later this year, although the company is yet to secure the permits it needs to do so.
The Greenpeace activists say they are prepared to stay on board for "days or weeks" in order to raise awareness of their campaign.
They argue that Shell and other oil giants have failed to demonstrate that they could clear up a major oil spill in icy waters.