The cargo of ammonium nitrate, which caused a powerful explosion in the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020, belonged to Ukrainian businessmen – in particular, the company of entrepreneur Vladimir Verbonol. This trail was discovered by a team of journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Saltpeter, which was stored in the port of Beirut, was bought by Savarino Limited, a UK-registered company. OCCRP found out that the headquarters of the company is located in Ukraine, the conglomerate of companies is managed by a group of Ukrainians, not just Verbonol.

Businessmen from Ukraine have been selling ammonium nitrate to African countries since the early 2000s. Investigators claim that Verbonol’s company is using offshore providers in Cyprus and the UK to facilitate its network.

A cargo of ammonium nitrate that caused a powerful explosion in the Lebanese capital on the evening of 4 August was confiscated from the ship Rhosus. The Russians and Ukrainians who worked on the ship had to stay in Lebanon for a whole year, as the owner went bankrupt and abandoned the ship.


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