Tripoliven U-turns: imports from Western Sahara after all
The Venezuelan subsidiary of FMC Corp, Tripoliven, told WSRW last year that it does not import phosphates from Western Sahara. After a large investigative report in Venezuela, the company admitted the opposite is the fact.
The Venezuelan company Tripoliven admits it is importing phosphate rock from Western Sahara. The company thus admits it spoke untruly to WSRW last year.
“The rock which we receive which most closely fulfils the requirements of Tripoliven originates from Bou Craa, which we import from Morocco», stated Tripoliven’s president, Nicolás Marín to the Venezuelan investigative website Armando.info [or download].
The revelations came in a co-publication between Armando and the national newspaper El Universal 10 August 2014 [or download].
WSRW has for a number of years observed that Tripoliven purchases phosphates from Western Sahara. In a letter to Tripoliven in 2013, WSRW confronted the company with recent shipments, with copy to FMC Corp, asking if they import from Western Sahara.
20 February 2013, the CEO of the company stated to WSRW that "Regarding the information you requested, we can inform you that Tripoliven does not import rock from the company OCP"
Yet, something about the answer did not appear correct. After all, WSRW kept observing the vessels voyaging with phosphates into their port directly from the occupied territory.
WSRW is currently awaiting answer to those letters.
The president of Tripoliven told Armando.info that the imports constitute a transparent operation. The Venezuelan state also imports to Colombia, the only government owned company involved in such trade internationally.
FMC Corp responded on 13 May 2014 that it “does not have a controlling interest in Tripoliven” and that it had “formally requested that management of Tripoliven respond”. It didn't.
The conclusion is thus that FMC Corp was not right when it stated to investors in 2012 that it does not have subsidiaries involved in this trade, and that Tripoliven was not writing truly in its correspondence with WSRW in 2013.
See everything about the Western Sahara trade in our June 2014 WSRW report P for Plunder.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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