India delays order for Iran oil, pending sanctions waiver clarity

Bharat Petroleum Corp is one of the Indian companies that purchases Iranian oil. (AFP/File)
Updated 09 April 2019

India delays order for Iran oil, pending sanctions waiver clarity

  • India expects the US waiver to be released in 7-10 days
  • US gave 8 nations a six-month waiver to purchase Iranian oil

NEW DELHI: Indian refiners are holding back from ordering Iranian oil for loading in May pending clarity on whether Washington will extend a waiver from US sanctions against the OPEC-member, four sources said.
In November, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed broad economic sanctions.
Washington, however, gave a six-month waiver to eight nations including India, allowing them to import some Iranian oil until early May. India, Iran’s top oil client after China, was allowed to buy about 9 million barrels a month.
India hopes to get clarity in seven to 10 days on any extension of the waiver, as well as the amount of oil that could be purchased if an extension is given, the sources said.
“We don’t know about US thinking, whether they will allow India to buy oil or not,” said one of the sources, all of whom declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Under the current waiver, India can buy about 300,000 bpd of Iranian oil — about half the amount before the sanctions were imposed — and New Delhi wants to keep buying Iranian oil at that level, Indian sources said last month.
Since November only state-run Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals have been buying Iranian oil.
State-refiners and India’s oil ministry did not respond to Reuters request for comments.
Brian Hook, the special US envoy for Iran, in March said Washington is pursuing its plan to bring Iranian crude exports to zero. Last week Hook said three of eight importers granted waivers by Washington have cut shipments to zero.
“Sanctions against IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) have also added to the uncertainty over supply of Iranian oil ... in the current scenario when enough alternatives are available it is better to wait for a clarity,” said another of the sources.
Trump on Monday designated Iran’s Guards a foreign terrorist organization. Iran’s president Rouhani said Tehran will resist US pressure and hailed IRGC as defenders of Iranians.


Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

Updated 13 November 2019

Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

  • The former motor giant chief’s legal team has alleged that both his arrest and the prosecution efforts have been illegal

TOKYO: The drama surrounding the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former boss of motor giants Nissan and Renault, has yet to reach its climax. Yet the plot continues to thicken with each new development.

On Monday, Ghosn’s defense lawyers unveiled court submissions highlighting the circumstances in which the 65-year-old executive was arrested and subsequently held in detention.

“We believe that Mr. Carlos Ghosn is innocent. We believe that the arrest and the prosecution efforts thus far are illegal and therefore Mr. Ghosn should be immediately released,” the head of his defense team, Junichiro Hironaka, said during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday.

Hironaka claimed that Nissan wanted to kick out Carlos Ghosn from the company and therefore put together a team dedicated to searching around for something that would justify them to do that.

“This prosecution motion wasn’t initiated because the prosecution side believed that Mr. Ghosn had committed an illegal act. Fundamentally there is a problem with this being treated as a criminal act,” he said.

Hironaka further said that the prosecutor’s office is supposed to be acting in the public good for everyone and not behalf of a specific corporation.

“From the investigation level, there were various problems and mistakes with this case. Furthermore, the Japanese persecution office can’t reach overseas so they rely on Nissan employees to go into Mr. Ghosn’s offices and residences and removed objects illegally,” he said.

Hironaka said there is no evidence to support the alleged wrongdoing claim that Nissan made payments to SBA in Oman, and Ghosn re-directed that money to himself or his family.

“The amounts that were paid by Nissan matched exactly the amounts due to SBA,” he said.

The lawyer had a similar response to the reports connecting some donations by Ghosn to a school in Lebanon that would somehow benefit himself. “There is absolutely no evidence or factual basis for indicating that,” Hironaka said.

He said that his team is trying to access correct information and find out what evidence the prosecution might have.

“I have made an effort to share information with the media, including the foreign media, during this whole pre-trial motion,” he said.

Under the Japanese system, the prosecutors are not required to disclose all the evidence at their disposal. Japanese law requires that prosecutors must disclose anything related to any evidence related to the specific filings they make.

They must also disclose any evidence that is related to the filings that are made by the defense counsel. However, there is no requirement for them to disclose evidence from other parts.

Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, 2018, on multiple charges related to his stewardship of the two companies.

The cases involved not only Nissan-Renault and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors (part of the Franco-Japanese alliance), but also the Japanese and French governments along with various key players from Asia and the Middle East.

Nissan was on the brink of bankruptcy in March 1999, with about 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) in interest-bearing debt.

This is when it entered a capital partnership with major French automaker Renault SA. Ghosn has been credited for turning the company around dramatically since then.

However, fears that the high-profile CEO and chairman was planning to merge Nissan into a much larger multinational motor alliance appeared to have fueled speculation regarding the future of the company.

It was reportedly argued within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government that the automaker would no longer be recognizably Japanese.

The case has larger ramifications and the two governments have routinely become involved in discussions related to its future.

According to news reports, when Macron and Abe met in Buenos Aires, the French president asked that the Franco-Japanese alliance be maintained.

On being asked by Arab News Japan about reports of a prosecution team visiting Saudi Arabia and Oman, Hironaka confirmed that the visit indeed took place after Ghosn’s arrest.

“However, we have not been given any access to any information that they may or may not have gathered there,” he said.