13 months after the huge explosion that rocked Beirut, killed 218 people and injured thousands of others, investigations are still underway in an attempt to reveal the truth behind the tragic August 4, 2020.
While legal investigations into the Beirut blast continue to face major challenges, another examination by the
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project OCCRP may have named the owner of the ammonium nitrate shipment that has been stored in the city's port since 2014 until the enormous explosion took place in 2020.
This investigation comes a year after OCCRP’s last investigation into the Beirut explosion, which uncovered the true owner of the MV Rhosus, as well as other details about businesses connected to the shipment.— Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (@OCCRP) September 14, 2021
You can read that here: https://t.co/UyRBQr9MWt
According to OCCRP, Ukrainian businessman Volodymyr Verbonol owns the estimated 2,750-ton chemicals, only 20% of which blew up in Beirut last year. The ammonium nitrate shipment was chartered by a London-registered company called Savaro Ltd and was delivered to the Lebanese port aboard MV Rhosus.
The investigation also finds out that the shipment was meant to be sent from Georgia in eastern Europe to a factory in Mozambique, but reasons that are yet to be investigated had the shipment unloaded in Beirut.
These findings come at a time a growing number of Lebanese people are demanding an impartial and transparent investigation into the blast, especially after raising doubts about the country's judicial system to deliver justice to survivors and families of 218 victims who died as a result of the explosion.
We've known for a while that the ammonium nitrate which blew up Beirut belonged to a UK-listed company, Savaro. @OCCRP has done a thorough dig and found it is part of a Ukrainian network. https://t.co/o7c6XNBPvw— Chloe Cornish (@ChloeNCornish) September 14, 2021
One big question about the ammonium nitrate seems to be answered. The shipment intended destination was not Lebanon and conspiracy theories about a hoax to offload the shipment in Beirut are proven wrong. Many other questions remain unanswered. https://t.co/vgnM2bYSsA— Jean Riachi (@riachi_jean) September 14, 2021
Last February, a Lebanese judge was removed from the court that carries out investigations, sparking questions over the court's decision and whether or not it is connected to the fact that he had summoned two former officials into the case.
Moreover, online commentators in Lebanon have been reporting unverified news suggesting that the former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who had just left his position last Friday, had already left to the US "in an attempt to avoid questions over his responsibility" in the incident, especially that he holds the Canadian citizenship.
Families of victims & survivors of the catastrophic #BeirutBlast urge the #HRC48 to urgently establish #UN Inquiry into the failure to protect life & rights.— Lotte Leicht (@LotteLeicht1) September 15, 2021
One year on, #Lebanon leaders continue to obstruct, delay & undermine a domestic investigation.https://t.co/2Gbq96zA04
In an official statement released this morning by Human Rights Watch, the group highlighted the increasing public demand that the UN becomes part of the ongoing investigations, to ensure justice for the Lebanese people.
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