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Tamoil Switzerland backs Libyan rebels

Libyan managers at Tamoil Switzerland decided several months ago to back the rebellion against Moammar Gaddafi, according to documents revealed on Saturday.

The French-language Swiss daily Le Matin published a translation of an email sent to all company workers in August by Nuri Rifaat, head of Tamoil Switzerland.

In it, Rifaat says he is disappointed that the enterprise should be regarded as “Gaddafi’s company”. He refers to the “damaging eccentricities” of the regime of the former leader.

“Several months ago, all the Libyan managers secretly proclaimed their allegiance to the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC),” he says, adding that he and other Libyans had contributed “personal money” to support the rebels.  

French-language Swiss radio reported on Thursday that Sirous Ammar, the director of the Tamoil refinery at Collombey, just beyond the eastern tip of Lake Geneva, had been suspended.

The radio said that although the Tamoil office in Geneva refused to speak about the matter, the decision had apparently been taken at the behest of the NTC.

The Lebanese financier, Roger Tamraz, who has expressed interest in buying the Tamoil group, told the radio that “because of the change of regime, and until we know who really owns the group after the fall of Gaddafi, it is difficult to start negotiations with anyone”.

The Swiss News Agency said on Saturday it had seen an email saying that Ammar had been suspended by the Geneva-based management and that an audit was to be carried out on his private contacts with Tamraz.

Tamoil Suisse and its refinery at are part of Oilinvest BV, a Dutch-registered company. This is in turn is part of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which was always close to the Gaddafi clan.

It has around 1,500 employees and 324 petrol stations in Switzerland.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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