Friday, 3 June 2011

Scandal-hit Israeli billionaire Sami Ofer found dead

Sami Ofer, an Israeli billionaire at the center of a scandal over dealings with Iran, is deceased at his home in Tel Aviv.
Israeli media reported the 89-year-old was deceased after a long illness.
The U.S. sanctions imposed last month to the Ofer Brothers Group, co-owned by Mr. Yuli Ofer and his brother, accusing him of selling an oil tanker to an Iranian company blacklisted.
Ofer denied all the allegations, saying the U.S. had an unfortunate mistake.
Forbes magazine recently said that the brothers were the richest men in Israel with interests in shipping, chemicals, real estate valued at $ 10.3 billion (£ 6.3 billion) in total.
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They are facing a mounting opposition in their countries of origin over the allegations that Ofer Brothers Group and its Singapore-based subsidiary, Tanker Pacific Management, was involved in a sale to the national shipping company of Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines .
Continue reading the main story
"Start Quote
    [Ofer Brothers Group] and its subsidiary, frankly, has failed to do proper due diligence "
End quote Mark Toner U.S. State Department
Many are shocked that two of the most prominent business people of Israel would have benefited from trade with a country that the Israeli government believes is developing nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies.
After the sanctions announcement, Ofer Brothers Group said it never ships sold to Iran, and that the Israeli government would confirm this.
But U.S. State Department Mark Toner rejected the denials, saying: "Ofer Holdings Group is the parent of a company called Tanker Pacific, and that the company actually sold to the Iranians this tanker.
"The company and its subsidiary, frankly, has failed to do proper due diligence and to prevent this transaction. So they are responsible."
Then on Sunday, has shown that a number of tankers in the hands of Tanker Pacific had repeatedly petroleum and petroleum products to Iran and shipped in the last ten years, while Israeli officials were involved in an intense diplomatic effort for international sanctions.
Tanker Pacific said the shipments to and from Iran legally at the moment, and that it had stopped the flow of refined petroleum to Iran last year, according to the unilateral U.S. sanctions unveiled in July 2010.
On Thursday, sources close to the family said Sami Ofer Ofer Brothers Group, all commissioned ships not to dock in Iran last year.
It came after a report that one of their ships had stopped in Iran in February.
The Israeli parliament economic committee tried to debate the affair, but the meeting was abandoned after only 15 minutes when put to the president a memo warning that such a discussion might be "harmful" received.
This led to speculation that the Ofer brothers would have been the Israeli security forces to help spy on Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said: "Israel's policy on Iran is very clear - all contact with the forbidden."


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