Statement by Public Eye
4. December 2017
- On November 8th, the Tribune de Genève and Tages-Anzeiger reported on the business relationship between Vitol SA and Seven Energy. The Tribune de Genève wrote: «C’est Kola Aluko en personne qui a cosigné le contrat pour Seven Energy». Public Eye erroneously understood that to be in reference to a contract between Seven Energy and Vitol SA. The following day the Geneva prosecutor's office ordered Public Eye to disclose, in the context of the investigations targeting Mr. Kola Aluko, any documents it had related to two contracts between Vitol SA and Seven Energy (we understand that a similar order was received by Vitol SA on Monday 13th November). On this basis, Public Eye included what were presumed to be new facts in our Paradise Papers Analysis, published on November 10th. In its press release, Public Eye wrote: «The Geneva public prosecutor now has Vitol in its sights». This statement could incorrectly imply that Vitol SA was under investigation.
- Public Eye apologizes for the factual error about a contract existing between Mr. Kola Aluko and Vitol SA. Public Eye acknowledges that the documents from the Paradise Papers that have so far become public, or that have been the subject of media reports in which agreements between Vitol SA and Seven Energy were mentioned, do not show that such a contract has been signed.
- Public Eye has commented on the malpractices of a number of companies that came to light through the Paradise Papers. Yet, Public Eye acknowledges that the documents that have so far become public, or that have been the subject of media reports, do not indicate the involvement of Vitol SA in such practices.
- In every aspect of its work, Public Eye subjects itself to strong rigour in order to contribute to necessary political debates with solid research and thorough analyses. In this case we made a factual error which led to unsubstantiated claims regarding Vitol SA.
- At Public Eye, we recognize that we did not live up to our own standards. Yet, it does not undermine the political conclusions drawn from the other cases (unrelated to Vitol SA) revealed in the Paradise Papers and should not prevent us from addressing the important issues that they raise.