Storm on Saras refinery in Sarroch. Just as for the first time in its long and important history it raises its arms and invokes the layoffs for its workers, Saras della Moratti family is overwhelmed by an investigation still to be clarified.
Saras, what the great Moratti refinery is and what it does
The oil refinery, one of the largest in Europe and one of the most advanced in terms of plant complexity, is located in the industrial district of Sarroch, managed by the subsidiary Sarlux on the southwestern coast of Sardinia. In 2015, Sarlux acquired the neighboring petrochemical plants owned by Versalis, ENI Group, expanding the production of the petrochemical sector.
Since 2016, the subsidiary Saras Trading SA has been operational in Geneva, dealing with the purchase of crude oils and other raw materials for the group’s refinery, the sale of its refined products and trading on behalf of third parties operating from one of the main hubs. international exchanges for oil commodities.
Founded in 1962 Angelo Moratti, it is controlled by his sons Gian Marco and Massimo through two limited partnerships which hold just over 25% of the capital and which are linked by a syndicate agreement that makes it non-scalable. Listed on the Stock Exchange since 2006, with a disastrous start that saw its shares collapse by 11%, Saras capitalizes on approximately 1.7 billion euros and produces 300 thousand barrels of oil a day, 15 million tons per year, coming to represent about 20% of the total Italian oil refining capacity. In Sarroch, almost the entire workforce is employed here: it employs approx 2 thousand employees.
Saras is also involved in the wholesale of petroleum products and has a network of approx 100 service stations in southern Spain. In 2013 the Russian oil giant Rosneft had acquired, in agreement with the family, a share of 21%. But the union between the two, which was supposed to lead to a joint venture for the processing and sale of oil and derivatives, was closed in 2016 due to sanctions against Russia.
Saras, the redundancy fund is underway
Now, the company is not only going towards a state of crisis for the first time, but it must answer very serious accusations. For some months there have been rumors of a possible state of crisis in the industrial sector of Sarroch. In recent days these rumors have become more and more insistent, until today, confirming the negative trend of the oil sector, bent by the Covid crisis.
Sarroch has always been a kind of happy island from the point of view of employment, because Saras gives jobs, and wealth, to entire territories. But his past and present weigh rather obscure shadows. Primarily thepollution of the territory, which had led it in the 2000s to diversify its business by starting a combined cycle gasification plant to convert refining residues and also inaugurating a wind farm in Ulassai, province of Nuoro.
He accuses Saras of doing business with Isis
But especially today, just a few hours after the announcement of the possible redundancy for workers, the suspicion that just through Saras oil from Isis reached Italy.
12 million tons of mineral oils that would have allowed the company 40% controlled by the Moratti family to distort the market, thanks to very advantageous purchase prices, and defrauding the tax authorities for something like 130 million euros. And last but not least Daesh terrorists to finance jihad, starting from a bank transfer considered suspicious of 60 million.
The suspicion is from the Cagliari anti-terrorism district prosecutor’s office, which last September 30 searched the company’s offices in Cagliari and Milan. They turn out now the company’s top management investigated, from the CFO, Franco Balsamo, to the head of the commercial office, Marco Schiavetti. The crime hypotheses range in various ways from money laundering to forgery, ending with tax offenses.
Everything would be started between 2015 and 2016, when 25 ships loaded with crude oil of Iraqi origin and Turkish origin arrived in the Saras refineries in Sarroch, according to prosecutors Guido Pani and Danilo Tronci. At the time Kurdistan, taking advantage of the conflict unleashed by Daesh in Syria and Iraq, had started the marketing of the crude extracted from its fields without the authorization of the Baghdad government.
The hypothesis that mineral oils owned by Isis had arrived in Sardinian refineries had already been advanced years ago in a Report investigation, accusation immediately denied by the company and by Federpetroli.
The reconstruction of the investigators
The origin of the product, the magistrates now write, is attested by unsuitable or official declarations. The load, according to the reconstruction of the investigators, is from Petraco Oil company, and was bought by Edgwaters Falls, a company from the Virgin Islands, which in turn would have bought the cargo from a Turkish company. First there had been another step: the Turks would in turn buy it in Iraq.
Edgwater Falls, according to the Guardia di Finanza, is a “shell company”, off shore, of Petraco. The financiers also believe that the cargo is arrived directly from Iraq, without ever passing through Turkey, and that its management has not been passed under the Iraqi state oil body, which is, the prosecutors write, “the only one authorized by international law”. It would have been first the Daesh terrorists and then the Kurds.
A reconstruction supported, the investigators believe, by transfers. Saras would in fact have paid about 14 billion to Petraco, money that is then lost to “twin” companies such as Edgewaters.
In one case, a transfer of 217 million dollars it is destined for Powertrans, a Turkish company which, according to the investigators, is “only a paper mill used to provide commercial documentation that would conceal the direct relationship with the Kurdish seller, not legitimized on an international level”.
4 billion instead they would end up in the Kurdish Ministry of Economy and Natural Resources. In that period, the prosecutors add, the wells “ended up under the rule of the Islamic militias”. From the documentation acquired, we still read in the search decree, at the German branch of Unicredit “a transfer of 60 million made by Edgewaters to the Kurdish government emerged, so” it can reasonably be assumed that the return of the money depended from the fact that the ownership of the crude oil, in that period, was no longer Kurdish but ISIS ‘.
Saras, which in recent years had denied the reconstruction of Report, says it is calm, rejecting once again in a “firm” any association of the name of the company “with oil and fuel smuggling, as it is completely without foundation and damaging to the image own and of the collaborators of the group “. And he explains that he has provided all the documentation required by the judiciary. Federpetroli is also on the same line.