The Malta Independent 22 March 2019, Friday

Men involved in diesel smuggling from Malta in Libyan ships arrested

Friday, 24 July 2015, 08:56 Last update: about 5 years ago

Two Italian men allegedly involved in a diesel-smuggling ring between Libya, Malta and Italy have been arrested in the Dominican Republic.

According to Italian press reports, the two men, Massimo Perazza and Andrea D’Aloja have been sought by the Italian police since last December, when six of their associates were arrested in Italy for allegedly defrauding the Italian navy.

Diesel imported from Malta in Libyan ships was reportedly never delivered to its intended recipients – a naval base in Augusta, Sicily.

The fuel smuggling business from Libya to Europe – with Malta often being one of the stops -  results in millions in losses for the Libyan government.

Last year, a Libyan MP said fuel smuggling was costing Libya about €4 billion annually.

The situation got so dire at one point that Libyan authorities had to import €8.3 billion worth of oil in 2013 from the EU.

Almost half of this was reportedly stolen and re-shipped abroad.

A 2015 report by the United Nations stated that smugglers selling Libya’s subsidised fuel abroad at higher prices likely use some of the profits to finance fighting between the country’s two rival governments

Last summer, 2,000 tons of diesel fuel from Libya was intercepted as it sailed toward Malta, according to the report.

Smugglers selling Libya’s heavily subsidized gasoline and diesel abroad at higher prices probably use some of the profit to finance fighting between the country’s rival governments, according to the U.N. report.

A few years ago, two Maltese men were taken into custody in Libya for trying to smuggle large volumes of diesel to Malta.

The men, Kevin McManus from Marsascala and Matther Piscopo from Marsaxlokk, were arrested by the Libyan authorities on two separate boats that had left from Libya and were heading towards Malta.

The boats reportedly contained thousands of litres of diesel that he been exported from Libya illegally.

Meeting were held between senior security personnel in Malta and Libya in order to discuss how to curb such smuggling activities.

Malta has offered its reassurances that it is always willing to fight such criminality. 

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