LONDON: Lebanese people living in the UK are being urged to call on MPs to launch an investigation into a British-registered company that might be linked to the devastating explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4 last year.
International activist network Meghterbin Mejtemiin, the name of which is Arabic for “united diaspora,” is sending letters to about 3,000 people of Lebanese origin in Britain, asking them to demand an official investigation into Savaro Ltd.
“When we saw the recent media reports describing the opacity around Savaro Ltd and the potential ties to figures of interest, we figured we needed to apply some pressure on the UK authorities to shed light on the matter,” the group said in a statement provided to Arab News.
“We are fairly hopeful that we will see some action from the UK authorities, especially after the news that the company’s voluntary liquidation request has been suspended. Our ultimate goal is to have an investigation opened on Savaro Ltd to identify its ultimate beneficiary owner (UBO), and understand how this fits in the bigger picture of the Beirut Explosion tragedy.”
According global business rules, the UBO is a person who receives the benefits of company transactions.
Last month, two senior British parliamentarians called for an investigation into Savaro. Its registered address is in London, so it is required to provide accurate information about the business, including who owns it, to Companies House, which maintains a register of all businesses in the UK. The trading firm which procured the ammonium nitrate that caused the exlposion in 2013.
The listing for Savaro identifies a woman called Marina Psyllou as the owner and sole director. However, she told Reuters last month that she simply acts as an agent on behalf of the true owner. She added that she cannot disclose this person’s identity but did not explain why this is the case.
“We cannot allow the Beirut Explosion investigation to be yet another investigation that fizzles out and never delivers answers or accountability in Lebanon,” Meghterbin Mejtemiin said in its statement. “From a UK perspective it is also important in order to uphold the standard of accountability that is present here, as well as to show the Lebanese people that the international community supports them in their search for justice. The benefit of the UK angle is mainly to leverage an independent judiciary.”
In addition to petitioning UK MPs, the group has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Attorney General Suella Braveman, among others.
Feb. 4 marked the six-month anniversary of the massive explosion at Beirut’s port, which was caused by a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that was stored in a warehouse. A large section of the city was destroyed and more than 200 people were killed by the blast, which also left more than 7,500 injured. The official investigation into the blast is on hold because of a nationwide lockdown in Lebanon to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Meghterbin Mejtemiin was founded in October 2019 mobilize the Lebanese diaspora in support of the ongoing protests in Lebanon caused by anger over the financial crisis in the country and concerns about corruption.
To get in touch with Meghterbin Mejtemiin, email: [email protected]