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Dominican Today: Probe finds ‘swindle’ in Dominican Refinery run by Shell: executives of Shell committed ‘swindle’ and ‘fraudulent maneuvers.’

13 June 2007: Fraud jeopardizes Dominican consumers

SANTO DOMINGO. – The Dominican Government’s representatives in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery’s (Refidomsa) Governing Board said “alterations of invoices” fuel purchase have been committed and that executives of the company Shell committed “swindle” and “fraudulent maneuvers.”

The Dominican State and Shell own equal stake in Refidomsa, though the multinational manages the facility and designates the administrative personnel; the State designates the president and 3 members of the Governing Board, whereas Shell designates the other 4.

The newspaper Listin Diario reports today that a team designated by the Refidomsa president found alterations which keep prices of some fuels artificially high and notes specific cases.

The team’s report comes after Refidomsa’s president ordered the probe, and the commission that represents the Government suggested two basic measures, which Shell rejected.

The conflict originated, according to Listin Diario, when alterations in fuel invoices were detected, which jeopardize Dominican consumers.

Among the several cases it mentions fuel oil import last November aboard the ship Salamina, on which the Board was informed that the shipping invoice would have been altered, which led to the designation of 2 of its members to investigate the case.

According to the report the commission determined that in that specific case there was “alteration of invoices” and pressures on the emitter with under the threat of non payment if didn’t change its values. “Everything with the final intention to maintain the price of parity before the SEIC (Industry and Commerce Ministry) at the existing levels, because if the true cost of the load were reported the oil fuel would lower its price.”

For the investigators it was “obvious that this distortion…has as a consequence that the consumer or final user receives the product at an altered price, which constitutes fraudulent maneuvers, fundamental element in the crime of swindle jeopardizing the Dominican nation.”

The members of Refidomsa’s Governing Board, Enrique Lithgow and Viriato Sanchez, said in the report that they didn’t calculate “the indirect damage caused to the consumer when not analyzing the impact and incidence on the fuel’s altered prices, to production costs of electrical energy, industry and agriculture.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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