Greek shipowner denies shipping Iranian oil
LONDON (Reuters) - Iran is using old tankers, saved from the scrapyard by foreign middlemen, to ship out oil to China in ways that avoid Western sanctions, say officials involved with sanctions who showed Reuters corroborating documents. The officials, from states involved in imposing sanctions to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program, said the tankers – worth little more than scrap value – were a new way for Iran to keep its oil exports flowing by exploiting the legal limitations on Western powers’ ability to make sanctions stick worldwide. Officials showed Reuters shipping documents to support their allegation that eight ships, each of which can carry close to a day’s worth of Iran’s pre-sanctions exports, have loaded Iranian oil at sea. “The tankers have been used for Iranian crude,” one official said. “They are part of Iran’s sanctions-busting strategy.” Dimitris Cambis, the Greek businessman who last year bought the ships – eight very large crude carriers, or VLCCs – to carry Middle East crude to Asia, flatly denied doing any business with Tehran or running clandestine shipments of its oil to China. Cambis said he had not been involved in shipping before but had bought the tankers as part of a new venture he runs from the United Arab Emirates. He denied trading with Iran – though he has contacts there from his previous work in the oil industry. nomic policy council. The new body will oversee the country’s economy and issue proposals to the president regarding macroeconomic issues, Pissarides told Cypriot state broadcaster CyBC yesterday. Meanwhile, appointed Finance Minister Michalis Sarris had a long consultation with outgoing minister Vassos Shiarly ahead of Sarris’s trip in view of his participation in next week’s Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers. Sarris will travel to Brussels on Saturday to consult with various European Union officials ahead of the Eurogroup scheduled for March 4. Elected president of Cyprus on Sunday, Anastasiades has promised to move fast to secure foreign aid to help the country emerge from its worst financial crisis in four decades.
Turk sell-off blow.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deci- sion to scrap a $5.7 billion sale of roads and bridges over the price risks leaving the nation more dependent on bond and stock investors to fund its current account deficit. The High Board of Privatization canceled a completed auction on last Friday after Erdogan said the winning bid was too low. While Turkey has already met this year’s target for asset sales after a stock offering in state-run lender Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS, the cancellation may damp investor sentiment, according to Gulay Girgin at Ata Invest and Ozgur Altug at BGC Partners. Failure of block sales will probably push the government to offer more deals to the public, Girgin said, while the government may be looking for higher offers from Middle Eastern investors, according to Altug. “The cancellation is likely to have a disturbing effect on investor sentiment,” Girgin, an economist in Istanbul, said by phone.